Among the engineering students at Lund University, Jonas Månsson has become a familiar face through the education he runs on his blog and YouTube channel.
After teaching for some time, Jonas Månsson noticed that the same questions were repeated during lectures, and in the end he was struck with the thought of starting a blog.
On the mathematic blog lectures are frequently posted. Since he started a couple of years ago his videos have over 2 000 000 views, and everything a student at LTH may need to know about linear algebra and multidimensional analysis can be found there.
Lund University’s magazine has described him as “Sweden’s math teacher” and in the past year the number of views on the YouTube channel has been about 3000 on average per day.
“On an average day during the course periods it’s about 500 visitors. During exam times it can be around 800-1000”, Jonas Månsson says.
Jonas Månsson’s blog has elevated the education to a whole new level and has helped many engineers in Sweden. His importance for the future of Sweden’s engineering can probably not be underestimated.
When a young Jonas Månsson first started studying it was in matematikhuset at LTH. Now, the once fascinated math student has become a lecturer in the place where it all began. It is a rainy Tuesday in June when we meet in his study.
“It’s a bit funny, now I work with the people I used to have as teachers”.
The idea of a digital learning platform was not something he expected would be a success from the beginning. Now he sees his videos as very effective tools for students.
“I thought that it’s much easier to upload videos so that the students can go back and watch there”.
Jonas Månsson thinks it is a given that the lectures are available for free.
“Principally, yes. If I upload it I naturally want it to be possible for everyone to take part of. It felt obvious that it should be available to anyone”.
His digital platforms have been shown to have a positive effect on the students. Last year, he was awarded Teknologkåren’s pedagogical prize for the second time, among the reasons were: “Excellent pedagogical methods combined with new thinking”.
“It has a different meaning when it comes from the students themselves”, Jonas Månsson says and glances at the diploma, which is just one of many, hanging on the wall.
“Because then I get confirmation that the work I do is appreciated by the ones I teach”.
When I turn to an engineering student who has had Månsson as a teacher, and who regularly uses his learning platforms, the answer is as I expected.
“He’s really pedagogic and genuinely cares about getting the students to understand”, says Jonathan Kuuse, who studies Civil Engineering with a focus on Mechanical Engineering.
In Jonas Månsson’s study math shines with its constant presence. One side of the wall is decorated with awards and diplomas, the other is covered with a whiteboard. It is filled with jotted down variables and equations.
“My colleagues”, Jonas Månsson says and laughs.
“That’s the way it gets when one colleague after the other comes in to write something. Creativity”.
There are no doubts that education lies close to his heart. However, he never planned on ending up where he is today, Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences. After a successful master thesis, Jonas Månsson was offered a doctoral post, and thereafter a temporary post. This later resulted in a full-time post as a lecturer.
“It wasn’t very though-out, really. I mostly thought about applying for other jobs outside of the university”.
However, there are other interests beyond mathematics and education. Work stays in the office and when Månsson comes home he tries to focus on other things. In his study stands a painting that has not yet made it up on the wall.
“Yes, I love art. Among others Swedish, Scanian and modernistic. I collect art, that’s all”.
Despite that the traditional lectern education has had to take a step back, and a more and more digitalized platform has claimed space, Jonas Månsson is positive. The number of students at lectures has decreased, which may be a result of the new way of teaching. But Jonas Månsson is not worried.
“It has decreased in all subjects at LTH, so it’s not only mathematics and my lectures. Possibly it’s because more material can be found on the internet today and you can manage your studies individually. But this is a phenomenon that should be investigated further”.
To increase the number of students who attend the lectures, Jonas Månsson believes you need to think about how education looks today, and how it should be handled in the future.
“I have no problems with my teaching. The important thing is how the students absorb the knowledge and that they do it in a good way. The question is what’s best, and how it should be done”.
Perhaps there are more videos waiting to be filmed. But when it comes to the future Jonas Månsson is secretive.
“I always have plans, but I don’t know whether they will work or not”, he says and smiles.
Text: Beri Zangana
Translation: Elise Petersson