University Lecturer Kati Kasanen
I work as a University Lecturer in Educational Psychology in the Psychology subject. I first came across with the pedagogy of blended learning in the 1990s, when I delivered courses in the distance mode in the Open University. Back then, the focus was on introducing blended modes of study to psychology education. Online pedagogy has “sneaked” into my life gradually over the years, and the coronavirus pandemic has emphasised its importance more than ever before. We found that some content that was thought impossible to be delivered online could, in fact, be moved online in collaboration with colleagues.
I’ve obtained my pedagogical qualification alongside my research and teaching. Throughout my career, I’ve always been keen to attend various trainings and participate in different development projects. In my own academic subject, I’ve had the pleasure to collaborate with colleagues who are enthusiastic about the development of teaching. In all development, I find it meaningful to work across the boundaries of different disciplines, to look beyond my “own bubble”, to learn from experts in different fields, and to share best practices. “To be taught and guided” has been a good experience for me.
Both in my training and everyday work, I’ve pondered on questions such as:
- What is high-quality online teaching like?
- What kind of pedagogical and didactic choices should be made in order to make the thing that is being taught coherent and consistent overall?
- When and for whom online teaching works, and when and for whom it doesn’t work?
- How to carry out effective evaluation?
Technology can be used in many ways, but pedagogy should come first. In other words, technology and online platforms shouldn’t be used simply for the sake of their existence. I continue my theoretical and practical familiarisation with this theme in my everyday work, and I’m constantly coming across with new and interesting things, and also with new needs to develop teaching.
As a Facilitator, my focus will be on selecting methods that are pedagogically suitable for the purpose, as well as on promoting interaction and enabling learning in different ways – also in ways that are not typical of me, whenever this is possible. It is important to pay attention to the differences between, and the specific features of, our disciplines. Feedback from students needs to be taken into consideration, and students should be seen as collaborators. I believe I’m able to put myself in most teachers’ shoes, as I know what teachers’ everyday life with all the time-related pressures, constant changes and pandemic challenges is like. I encourage everyone to calmly look at their own work, and also to acknowledge what constitutes good enough. Learning and doing research together is what makes me tick in my work as a Facilitator.