September 10, 2003

Bulk view

Any questions?


Ways to engage your students

- Define a concept in your own words - Explain familiar phenomena in terms of course concepts - Predict system behavior before calculating it - Think about what you've calculated - Brainstorm - Formulate questions

Make this group work. Promise to put some of them in the tests.

Things I wish they had told me



Find one or more research mentors and one or more teaching mentors, and work closely with them for at least two years. I'm looking for a teaching mentor. I like Dr. Queena Lee-Chua's style of teaching a lot. I've asked, but I'm not sure if anyone in our department has been awarded for teaching. I'll check Metrobank and other foundations. Find research collaborators who are strong in the areas in which you are weakest. If I focus on wearable computing, then I should probably find someone who's good at hardware. If computer science education, then analysis and assessment... Grade tough on homework, easier on time-bound tests. Ouch. My bad. Get copies of McKeachie1 and Wankat and Oreovicz2. W.J. McKeachie, Teaching Tips: A Guidebook for the Beginning College Teacher, 8th Edn., Lexington, MA, D.C. Heath & Co., 1986. The second book's for engineering.



- What do you like best about this course and/or the instructor? (List up to three things.) - What do you like least about the course and/or instructor? (List up to three things.) - If you were the instructor, what would you do to improve the course?

Plan for Friday:

- English-level description of sorting and searching. Give them the

weekend to think about how to translate that into code.

- Individual student evaluations. Emphasize need for comments.

Quick ideas for in-class activities

The one-minute paper looks like a good idea. - What are the two most important points brought out in class today (this week, in the chapter we just finished covering)? - What were the two muddiest points in today's class (this week's classes, this section of the course)? - What would make this material clearer to you? - # Make up a question about an everyday phenomenon that could be answered using material presented in class today (this week). (Optional:) One or two of your questions will show up on the next test.

No glamour in teaching?


The problem is, there's no glamour in being a professor. People don't think of us as powerful and important, like politicians and corporate executives; or as practicing a noble and beneficial profession, like doctors; or as pulling down a bundle for a few minutes work, like doctors, lawyers, and corporate executives; or as romantically unprincipled and somewhat sinister, like politicians, lawyers, and televangelists. In fact, people don't think of us at all. We get no crowds pointing us out and whispering to one another as we walk by; no fathers telling their children that some day they may grow up to be like us; no groupies.

Is too! I have fun teaching, and I'm rather glad I am.

Funny column, though.

Faculty meeting


- PAASCU revisit will be either end of this month or in October. - List of recommendations - Show interaction - Fine arts. aesthetics / technical - Merienda with philo: September 17, ethics discussion, mis hour? - Playstation. SCPH-30001 or SCPH-30001-R or SCPH-35001-GT - Lounge party. promotions, video games - Updates re phd program, master's, and mis - Video cards, Geforce 4 MX - Network computers for Sir Marco - Inventory of Microsoft stuff

Research on Successful New Faculty


Identifies three aspects for new-teacher success

- Collegial support.

I experience a lot of collegial support. I regularly swap stories and ideas with the other new teachers, and I occasionally learn from the senior faculty. They don't expect me to have to make all the mistakes again, and they share encouraging stories and advice.

- Teaching support.

I believe that students must actively learn. Our Teacher Formation Institute (TFI) training emphasized the importance of student-centered learning, and that's how I approached school as a student as well. I feel that my main task as a teacher is forming attitudes and skills, not just delivering content. My faculty evaluation last summer was above average. Out of 9 teachers, I was number 3, but there's still a long way to go! =)

My students can handle challenging content - I just have to find ways to present it well. I like experimenting with alternative teaching styles, although I need to make sure that my class doesn't suffer because of it. It looks like they're learning and having fun, though.

- Preparation Time vs. Research and Writing Time.

I spend more time preparing exercises than I do preparing lectures. I would rather guide students with questions and exercises than tell them answers. I feel that exercises have to be well-prepared. When I do lectures, however, I can do them with less preparation. I prefer board-work and program-writing over slides because I can adapt to the students more that way. Slides have to be prepared well in advance and the order is not flexible. I don't know how to use slides to elicit and incorporate student feedback; maybe I should learn how to do that.

Other notes:

Seven Attributes of Successful New Faculty

- superior investment in time spent on scholarly and grant writing;

Meep. I need to work on this more. Right now, I feel that the time I invest in preparing exercises is worth it especially as my research interests include computer science education. Other teachers use my exercises as well, and I want to put together a collection of lab exercises and project ideas.

Advice from the page:

Advice to New Faculty . The most obvious advice is for new faculty is to follow the model set by quick starters. Finding balance in time expenditure is critical. Boice suggests new faculty keep daily records of how they spend their time and decrease classroom preparation to a maximum of one and a half hours per classroom lecture hour. With regard to teaching, Boice directs new faculty to seek advice on how to interpret student ratings, and to improve teaching accordingly. Further, he suggests that new faculty attend to social networking, spend time on scholarly writing each day, and integrate research and scholarly writing interests into lectures.

I should keep track of my preparation and checking time, then. =)

(Oooh. I love social networking. =) )


A collection of student comments and advice on first year teaching. This is probably the page that Dominique Cimafranca mentioned.

- make the class interesting. Variety and surprise are key elements

I'm getting the hang of writing fun and interesting exercises. My class seems animated, and even the other CS21A classes try out my exercises and have fun.

- true enthusiasm and a sense of pride for who and what one is teaching

I noticed this in student feedback from summer and from my talks. They pick up on the fact that I'm passionately into computer science and teaching, and even if they don't understand everything I talk about, the fact that I talk about it enthusiastically cheers them up.

- the importance of relating things to the real world.

I love doing this. Heck, I relate computer science to the unlikeliest of things - cooking spaghetti, giving directions, analyzing how things interact...

- be organized and clear

I need to work on this a bit more. I list the objectives for each activity and I have follow-up questions. That's a good thing - I didn't really state them clearly before.

- It is important to remember where students are coming from

I think I'm doing this pretty well. I know people in the introductory course come from wildly different backgrounds, and I take that into account when I help them. I must keep the academic ending point in mind, though. Next time, it would be nice to clearly post the ending point on the course webpage - the objectives of the course, essentially.

- Stress and repeat key points.

Stress and repeat key points. Yup. I tend to say things several times, and I follow up with questions.

- I think that you will find that the chemistry of your classes will be much better if you share something about yourself, and learn something about your students.

I don't try to be "one of the gang", but I like answering my students' e-mail and sharing what I've learned.

Maybe I should go to class in borg gear sometime. =) Research.

- need for genuine empathy

I need to remember to be somewhat demanding. But yeah, I know they're doing a lot, and I help them catch up outside class time as well.

- make adequate time for your students

A number of students feel comfortable with dropping by the department to ask for help. There are some I have not yet met outside class, though.

- Be sure that tests, assignments, etc. are fair, valid, consistent and explicitly described.

I need to improve the clarity of my assigments, or I'll risk some students giving up because the questions are confusing.

- professors too seldom seek meaningful feedback.

Should incorporate more feedback opportunities. I love how they give me feedback through their journals; it helps me improve as a teacher and it allows me to find ways to better address their needs.