Areas of expertise
Dr. Erkki Sutinen is Professor of Computer Science (Interaction design) at the University of Turku since 2015. He moved to Namibia in 2019 to set up the first overseas campus of University of Turku, located currently at the premises of University of Namibia, in its main campus in Windhoek. Erkki got his PhD from University of Helsinki in 1998, based on his research in string algorithms. In 1999-2015, he was a professor at University of Eastern Finland (1999-2009 University of Joensuu) where he founded a research group in educational technology, hosting an online PhD program impdet.org. In 2010-12, he was the chief technical advisor of the 22 M€ STIFIMO science, technology and innovation program in Mozambique. Erkki has been researching educational technology, Computing education, ICT4D, and co-design. He has supervised circa 30 PhDs and co-authored around 300 papers. As an ordained Lutheran priest, his current interests include digital theology.
Since one of my research interests is Computing education, from the viewpoint of design science research, my attitude to teaching is that of reforming the ways that teachers help students to learn. I have been working on designing learning tools (like Jeliot for learning programming) or integrating creative approaches within Computing education. I am also interested in contextualized education, ensuring that education makes sense in the context where it is given. The pedagogical challenges of the Global South have taken me to lead the Future Tech Lab in Namibia where I also have five doctoral students.
Being a professor of Computer Science, especially in Interaction design, and leading my university's remote, plug-in campus (Future Tech Lab, ftlab.utu.fi) in Namibia, southern Africa, my research focuses on making a difference in African, real-life settings. While the application areas might differ from education to development to tourism, I apply the pragmatic design science research approach to co-design creative solutions together woth relevant stakeholders on the ground. Sometimes, these contexts call for developing advanced, novel technologies for meaningful solutions, like remote presence technology that Academy of Finland is funding at the moment (2020-24). In other cases, the challenges lead to novel fields, like digital theology where I study how interactive technologies help people to express their faith in comtemporary ways.