teaching philosophy

overview

I believe that teaching and learning is a process of mutual engagement between both educators and students. Given the broad spectrum of learning styles, this requires the utilization of a variety of educational approaches. Through my teaching career, I have thus applied myself to the production and usage of lecture materials (for traditional learners), videos and at-home workbooks (for self-motivated students), and interactive lab sessions and hands-on projects (for practical experience for students). I encourage students to think beyond the classroom, and emphasize the importance of technical communication via written reports and oral presentations as part of the engineering process. I am a huge proponent of project-based assessment, and encourage students to view these as opportunities to learn how to learn: interpret design requirements, communicate engineering decisions, and perform design space exploration for any given challenge. Finally, given their essential nature in all careers, I make reflection and evaluation an essential component of my courses. Students should have the ability to appreciate the issues within any design: not just the hardware and software technical components, but also ethics, user experiences, and future proofing in a world of rapid technological change.

recent teaching experiences

I have taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels in the USA and New Zealand in accredited engineering programs. I have also recently started taking informal advisory roles for several graduate and undergraduate students in our research group, mentoring them in the research process. While my primary job responsibility over my last two years at New York University has been research, I have also regularly contributed as a member of the teaching team in three classes: For Advanced Hardware Design (graduate level) I was responsible for delivering lectures and designing assignments on selected topics, both group and individual, for both small-scale and semester-long projects. For Introduction to Hardware Security and Trust (graduate level), my role was similar to this but has now evolved to include instructor-of-record responsibilities, course coordination and management of the course assistant team. Finally, this year I have also taken part as a member of Digital Logic & State Machine Design (undergraduate level), which I was tapped to be a part of at short notice when the main instructor had to travel overseas. This involved quickly coming to terms with the intended lecture content, working with the overseas instructor to ensure continuation of the material, and ensuring that the lectures stay interesting and engaging to account for the now-asynchronous interactions between students and the instructor. As the instructor-of-record for the graduate class I was reviewed by the students. My score was 4.7/5, the course score was 4.6/5.

Before arriving in the USA, I built a reputation as an excellent and passionate instructor at the University of Auckland. Here, as a professional teaching fellow (teaching faculty), I co-taught undergraduate courses (the norm at that department was to have two academics each teach 50% of a course). In Software Practice, a project-based course which had previously been “red-flagged” by low student reviews, I revamped the material to introduce new topics on best practice game and web development, and worked with the students to define and refine the final project requirements interactively. This substantially improved the overall course evaluation, with my half in particular receiving excellent reviews (my score: 4.44/5, department average: 4.14). In Digital Circuit Design I was the main instructor and given more freedom to re-shape the course into my own direction. As a fundamental course, this involved developing exams and assessments covering digital design in Verilog, and designing a calculator-based project for FPGA deployment. I ensured that students had a good understanding of not just what to do, but why, helping them develop an intuitive understanding of Verilog. This resulted again in excellent reviews (my score: 4.62/5, department average: 4.18; course score: 4.56/5, department average: 4.04).

pedagogical strategies

After setting the objectives and communicating the context of a given course, my goal is to produce both individual and group assignments with peer assessment, built-in reflective exercises, and feature clear assessment rubrics. Students should always understand how they are graded and why they received a given mark. I find interactivity an essential part of engaging students, so try to design lessons with live discussion and Q&A, technology and coding demonstrations, and producing informal recordings.