In the spotlight: Juan Borra

Today another devoted lecturer features on our ‘Lecturer in the spotlight’ blog series. This lecturer has teaching with technology down to a fine art. His name is Juan Borra and he teaches Managerial Accounting at Haaga Helia University in Finland. By putting the focus on blended learning in his course design, he has given his diverse group of 300 students the opportunity to gain that sought-after excel proficiency required by employers.

Let’s shed some light on the great work Juan has been doing in Education.

What does Education mean to you?

It means a lot. I love teaching and the teacher´s role in society; I see great importance in education for future generations. I am naturally curious and a self-directed learner. Education provides me with a continuous source of inspiration and motivation. It brings freedom and happiness to individuals and groups, as it provides opportunities for improvement in all areas of life. It remains fundamental for survival in society.

What inspires you in your profession?

The opportunity to inform, inspire and influence others. Helping people to develop not only in the area of my expertise (accounting & finance) but also in soft skills that could give them better opportunities in life. Teaching keeps me in close contact with young people, which forces me to continuously adopt new technologies and find new ways to motivate them to learn.
Teaching at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences offers me the perfect environment to be creative and develop my pedagogical skills. I am able to share and make use of my prior work experience to bring real-life, hands-on examples into the classroom.
Working at Haaga-Helia UAS gives access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources, making me proud to be part of Finnish Education.

What is key to engaging your students?

  • Keep contact sessions dynamic with extensive use of digital tools and co-creative learning environments.
  • Set up clear ground rules for the course, including minimal distractions from inappropriate use of mobile devices or internet during contact sessions.
  • Transparent and fair criteria for assessment.
  • Seek to answer/support/assess students, offering feedback promptly.
  • Switching between various teaching methods that blend different pedagogical approaches and tools.
  • Mirroring modern preferences for learning.
    Friendly, easy to use and interactive virtual environments for sharing material and doing exercises.
  • Openness, I naturally have a non-traditional academic approach that seems to build trust with students. The teacher as an individual/team “sports” coach.
  • Offering a multisensory learning experience, including ambient music for some parts of the lessons.
  • I have a passion for both teaching and the subject that I teach.

What do you think education will look like in 2025?

  • Increasing use of technology, Artificial Intelligence, and machine learning.
  • A decreasing number of teachers due to cost-driven organizations through team teaching (more than one teacher for the same course) will be available for some courses.
  • Merging of Universities ‘administrations.
  • Wider export of Finnish educational models.
  • Courses run on virtual learning platforms will become the baseline of all education.
  • Study programs updated more regularly to match market trends and student needs.
  • Greater flexibility to access education, short tailor-made modular courses to maximize freedom of choice.
  • Classrooms will become workshop environments that inspire students and teachers, boosting co-creation to maximize learning outcomes.
  • Contact sessions are seen as a privilege for both students and teachers.

Your biggest professional achievement till date?

As an accountant, I worked in different countries for different companies; among those, prior to moving into education, I spent ten years working for General Electric Healthcare in Finland with the Global Controllership team, in demanding multicultural environments.

As a teacher, having modernized Haaga-Helia accounting and Finance courses by implementing MyLab Accounting in 2018; other teachers have been motivated to also implement this digital learning environment for their own courses. The great feedback I continually receive from my students and colleagues.

Interested in a more detailed overview of how Juan has integrated digital learning in his course? Watch his webinar here or read this report.

Snapshot of Juan's Course Results