teaching PHILOSOPHY

The best way to characterize my philosophy of teaching is to ally it with Michael J. Malachowski’s writing on the ADDIE methodology for instruction. The five phase method of analysis, design, develop, implement and evaluate is a system I use to start my curriculum and involve the students in each phase through to refinement. Often I am confronted with a variety of students from different disciplines who all learn in different ways. Because I have the expertise in technology that allows me to deliver information in various formats, I try to provide the information to accommodate the students preferred context for learning.

One of the most important phases for instruction is the evaluation phase, which reveals two important aspects for the student to understand the effect of their design on a 'typical' user. During the evaluation phase the design becomes 'real' to the student furthering their understanding of the user. Secondly, it re-emphasizes the importance of performing the previous four steps from the perspective of the user and restrain the students preferences during the design process.

My role in teaching at Winthrop includes both technology and design which is a difficult task because the two have conflicting processes. On the technology side, learning the steps that allow you to perform pre-generated tasks is what I call inside-out understanding. Students often look inside the software and get out something they never imagined. Design on the other side is a process of looking out, to the problem, the people involved, the environment, the culture, and bringing those things together to form some kind of intervention that addresses the problem. I prefer to teach technology in the same manner as design. Showing students the software developers concept demonstrates how the system works, allowing students to operate within the parameters of that concept. This is a more effective and efficient way of learning because this knowledge is transferable to other technologies and encourages innovative thinking because it address the problem from outside of their point of view. Students learn the possibilities of how the technology may perform and then seek out the answer.

This same method of understanding the concept, designing, then making the idea a physical reality, is how I approach the design process. Design is often thwarted by the technology even though I found it to be the more difficult task. Assuming a common approach it is easier to operate technology and design processes in tandem. The sooner the student can master the language of computing the sooner they can integrate design thinking, making better designs.