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I view teaching as a process of exposing students to new concepts with the potential of increasing their personal and professional ability to achieve their goals of becoming Electrical or Computer Engineers as desired and satisfying careers. While in the classroom, I challenge them to think about the relation of what they are learning to important real world issues such as global climate change, political and market forces, scientific principles, products and applications as well as the future of technology. By doing so I wanted them to find a way to position themselves to be major contributors after graduation. I also tell them that they must equip themselves with the right knowledge in their specialization for today's changing world.
It is my philosophy that students need to actively participate in the process of learning. They must think, read, write, talk and as engineers-- build, test, extrapolate, trouble shoot, modify and then experiment and verify and defend their point of view as a they try to prove the concepts they are learning. They need to spend time solving problems and apply concepts to real world problems. For this reason, my students are often assigned projects based on request for proposals (RFP's) and that they should build a cost effective system while working in teams. They are also required to make oral presentations, submit written progress and final reports as well trouble shoot and demonstrate the design. Also, at other times I ask them to read and summarize technical articles, write summaries about invited lecturers and speakers I bring to class or technical field trips to a local industry. They also should participate in classroom activities where they discuss issues with other students and try to advance the correct point of view. They are also asked to write summaries and evaluations critiquing their own and other studentsâ€™ projects, and present themselves and listen to oral presentations of other students in the class. In this process of learning, I observe the development and progress of their ability to express themselves in report writing, discussions and when speaking on their own about a learning issue.
Through the semesters, I observe the transition from the students' initial lack of interest to the next stage of being able to solve problems, simulate, identify components, build and test systems, They really start agreeing that this is what they want to do to help them grow as engineers. They then start asking about career directions and that it may be a good idea to be involved in research and/or internships and how much these involvements will be assets for their future. This progression represents deep learning and that they are in need for lifelong learning.
I get excited about discussing the latest research and sharing my professional experience and approach to problem solving as well as how this relates to real life situations. It really brings me a great joy when students have thoughtful questions indicating that they understand the concept and that they are trying to apply it in a meaningful way. This is a proof that students are motivated by othersâ€™ involvement and their teacher's knowledge and love of the subject in general. It also brings me a great joy when I get contacted by former students telling me that they have just applied something that they have learned in my class or a project they did with me and that they now know why they learned that and why they did a project on it. I share these examples with my current students and it is part of learning when the teacher has faith in their competence and desire to learn and in achieving the goals.
My goal as an educator is to be a great teacher and to inspire my students. The students are, intelligent and motivated people with open minds; it is up to us to build on their multiple intelligences and utilize their motivation. One of the most important things I tell my students is that if they are majoring in a particular subject for the monetary gains in the future, they maybe wasting their time. Jobs and money can be lost, but an education is with us for a lifetime. I usually advise them to specialize in something they enjoy and have a passion for and that they need to take the appropriate courses for that. I also tell them that If they have that passion, they will become good at whatever it is and are very likely to gain meaningful employment and that someone will most certainly pay them well to do what they enjoy doing.
The Electrical and Computer Engineering educational culture is associated with activity, ethics, and active learning. I see the professorâ€™s role as enabling students to develop their maximum human potential, to explore possibilities and seek opportunities for growth and development in their lives while doing it in an ethical manner. I want to be a mentor to my students and I encourage them to set goals, develop and find their optimal learning style. In the process I assist them with exam issues, examples, problem sessions, and in reviewing and recalling lecture coverage.
I believe myself to be an innovative instructor. Although I like to teach my students face to face with a marker and right on the marker board, I have extensively used technology for teaching. I have developed, video, audio and narrated lectures, developed laboratories experiments as proof of concepts, created course websites, developed laboratory and software demos, laboratory manuals, course notes, and a variety of other resources including past exams, projects, presentations and homework problems are made available to students as a 24-hour 7-days a week extension of the teacher. This is especially important in an urban university where the students in class are also working people and at times they may have scheduling issues and my miss class. These facilities make it easier for them to continue the learning process without interruption.