Teaching the course material in a variety of learning styles is critical. Lectures are aimed at the auditory and visual learners. At the beginning of the course I assign some fundamental readings so that students are grounded in the core principles of the field. These assignments work well for the read-write learners. I assess student reading through quizzes and class discussion. This creates balance for students who have test anxiety and those who do well with test taking. I also use in-class pair-programming exercises to teach new coding concepts. The in-class exercises serve the dual purpose of helping me to identify students’ strength, and meeting the needs of the tactile kinesthetic learners.
Through my courses, students should be able to: a) recognize the designer’s role in interaction, b) implement basic principles of interaction design and usability into their own work, c) understand necessary processes to create an engaging space/experience, d) be able to analyze/look critically at existing websites, apps, software and games to identify improvements, e) apply these skills to create new sites, apps, software, and games, f) be able to apply Fitt’s Law to understanding the advantages and limitations of mobile screen sizes. These objectives can be adapted depending on the focus of the course, but overall provide a good framework for these courses.
Pair programming projects are a key component to my courses. I assign these at the beginning of the course so that students can develop confidence in their skills. I assign group work for projects later in the semester, which are larger in scope than what one person can reasonably accomplish for the course. Since my experience in teaching has been with undergraduates, I assign the groups to make sure there is a balance of students who are highly skilled with those who are not as strong. I also offer suggestions on the roles the students could play in the groups. When I assign these groups it allows students to focus more on the project itself instead of trying to assess their peers’ strengths and weaknesses.
Instructional technology also plays a big role in my courses. Many reading assignments are articles that can be found on the Web. I post additional resources and articles of interest for students on Blackboard. I encourage online engagement from my students outside of class through blog posts and Twitter discussion.
I often measure my effectiveness through seeking the advice of my colleagues about how to address certain situations. Many of my teaching experiences have been as part of a teaching team; checking in with my teammates has been a critical part of my teaching experience, and I highly value the constructive feedback and advice my colleagues offer. I’ve taken their recommendations and put them into practice by changing the format of a presentation, and by adding or removing material from a presentation or syllabus.