Year Awarded: 2012
College of Computer Science and Engineering
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
The ultimate goal of any educator should be to enable his students to achieve their potential. I attempt to attain this goal through five major techniques: providing a friendly classroom atmosphere, giving challenging assignments, adapting my courses, collecting data to identify the techniques that are most effective in helping students learn, and helping students to transition to their post-undergraduate experience.
By lecturing with a familiar tone of voice and chatting with students before and after class, I create an atmosphere where students feel comfortable asking questions, both in class and outside of class. My office door is always open, even if I don't have office hours. If students ask more questions, they learn more.
In computer science, the ability to solve new problems is paramount. In addition to standard questions, I challenge students with difficult problems that require a new application of the primitives they have learned. In this manner, I can gauge the achievement of all students while challenging the brightest.
To best serve students, I adapt lesson plans to each specific class. I take informal surveys of students to identify the strengths and weaknesses of various teaching techniques. Using this information and feedback from colleagues at other institutions, I redesign my courses for the future.
The classroom is the ultimate experiment. I try at least one new technique each semester and measure its effectiveness. In this manner the most effective assignments for learning can be retained, while new ideas are constantly being tested.
Helping students discover their passion can have more value than the content we teach them. I enjoy facilitating students in their quest for the ideal graduate school or job that might be the best fit for their strengths. Connecting students with recruiters/faculty may help a student seize a wonderful opportunity.