Trying new methods and receiving feedback important in teaching

University Lecturer Antti Laaksonen is a teacher and researcher in computer science at the Faculty of Science on Kumpula campus. His own research area, algorithmics, is strongly represented in his teaching. Antti Laaksonen is one of the new fellows of the Teachers’ Academy.

One indication of how committed University Lecturer Antti Laaksonen is to his field is that he came up with the idea of the Kumpula campus Algorithm Club, which is open for all and which he led for many years.

 “I defended my doctoral thesis on applying algorithms to music in 2015. The research is ongoing, and our objective is to create automatic methods to manage large collections of music data,” says Antti Laaksonen.

The main focus of algorithm research is to discover effective methods for automatic data processing. In the field of music algorithms, for example, the data may consist of huge numbers of musical pieces and the task is to efficiently find the pieces containing a melody that the user has given. The more efficient the algorithm, the faster the user will receive an answer.

In his work teaching computer science, Antti Laaksonen has tried different ways of visualising things. He has also used game theory in his teaching, and seen how his students are inspired by having immediate feedback to their algorithms and experiencing success.

 “It is interesting to develop different ways of teaching and learning. I collect feedback from the students and write scientific articles about my teaching methods.”

Teaching must meet the requirements of the job market

At the moment, Antti Laaksonen is also working outside the university with software development.

 “To me, it’s important to get a feel for the work being done outside the university. This way, I can learn to adapt the contents of my teaching to meet the of the job market that the students will have to fulfil once they’ve graduated,” Antti Laaksonen explains.

He feels that the various groups of students that he is teaching are interesting.

 “I’ve also taught many courses in the Open University, for example. They have students from different backgrounds, in different age and professional brackets. In such situations the teacher is teaching a wider public and it is different for the teacher than teaching degree students.

The open university offers courses from the University of Helsinki’s degree programmes, spanning dozens of different fields. The open university courses are available for all. Many of the courses are organised flexibly online.

What is the University of Helsinki's Teachers’ Academy?

The Teachers' Academy is a network of teachers who have invested their time in the development of teaching, teaching skills and students' learning processes. The establishment of the Academy indicates the value the university community places on teaching quality.  By investing in teachers, the University also invests in students and the quality of learning.  An appointment as a fellow to the Teachers’ Academy is a sign of recognition for teaching merits and expertise in the field of teaching. 

The members of the Teachers' Academy form a multidisciplinary network that shares its expertise and is active in the development of learning and teaching at the university. The members of the Teachers' Academy meet regularly during the academic year to share their pedagogical innovations, learn about ideas for improving teaching and learning in different departments, and work together to promote issues they consider important.