Teaching portfolio for Aino Vonge Corry
My development as a teacher:
I have always been very interested in teaching, and very focused on student learning. I have been teaching since 1998 in academia as well as in industry. Because of my experience in teaching I have developed my own theory of practice, which has helped me throughout the years, when planning a course and reacting to situations while teaching. I have talked to various experts on teaching with focus on specific problems with my teaching, I have read books and papers on the subject, and have recently started my dedicated didactic training. According to Biggs levels of teachers, I am currently moving from a level 2 (focused on teaching skills) to a level 3 (focused on student learning) teacher.
Courses in Private Industry:
All in the period May 2001- January 2004:
Object-oriented analysis and design course 4-5 days. Variations of this course I have given at least 26 times.
Java programming 4 days. This was given 2 times.
Design patterns 2 days. This was given 5 times.
Variations on the above, additionally 5-10 times.
UML and Design Patterns 2 days
Courses at the University of Aarhus:
Programming large systems co-teaching as amanuensis fall semester 2000. Bachelor course for around 70 students in their 2nd year of CS study.
Aspects of Object-oriented Programming fall 1998. Co-teaching masters course for around 25 students
Object-oriented Programming fall 1998. Bachelor course. TA for around 15 students
Time Complexity and Algorithms spring 1998. Bachelor course. TA for around 20 students
Design patterns and Frameworks. Teaching masters course for around 20 students
Advanced Topics in Software Architecture. Co-teaching masters course for 48 students. Spring 2011. Again in Spring 2012 with 42 students.
Introduction to Science Teaching for ph.d. students, 10 times with around 15 students each time since 2011
Two-hour Crash-course in science teaching for TAs, 6 times for around 10 students each time since 2011
Introductory Programming for 1st-year students in CS, 370 students, fall 2011, and again in fall 2012 and fall 2013.
Oral exam for around 100 students for the dPass course in 2000
Censoring for an oral exam for around 40 students for the dProg course in 2010
Oral exam for 48 students for the AtiSA course in 2011
Various co-examining on masters theses 2001-2007 while being an industry member of the national external group of co-examiners.
DAIMI: April 2006-August 2006, supervising two masters students; Hugo Ramos and João Soeiro. Topic: Distributed Database Concepts.
DAIMI: January 2003–June 2003, supervising Masters’ student Met-Mari Nielsen. Topic:
Principles for Making Better Software Patterns.
Presentation on PHP at Trifork (trifork.com), internal presentation
Presentation of papers at various conferences; OOPSLA, ECOOP, WAGA, TOOLS.
1-hour presentation “”Pattern Landscapes – or What Can We Learn From Dating Patterns?” at the JAOO conference, Aarhus, Denmark 2009, Brisbane and Sydney, Australia 2009
A presentation called: “The Pattern Morass“ at JAOO 2000 in Aarhus, Denmark
A 3-hour tutorial called:” Introduction to Rational Unified Process (RUP)“ at JAOO 2001, Aarhus denmark
A 6-hour tutorial on Design patterns at JAOO 2002 Aarhus, Denmark
A 1-hour presentation on functional design patterns at QCon London 2010
Pedagogical courses I have followed:
Teaching and Learning workshop series by Quentin Vicens 2010. This course introduced be to constructive alignment, backwards design and active learning.
Kommunikationskurs, (Course on communicating science) Lund, Sweden 1999. This course was about dissemination of science to laymen. We had written and oral exercises, and learned how to do presentations and write about our research in a language that other people could understand.
Skolematematik (pedagogical, philosophical, and historic course on Mathematics) mandatory for teaching math in high schools. This course was about the parts of teaching mathematics that are not the mathematics itself.
It has always been important for me that the students have a say in what is taught. This is easier in the industry courses I have given, because the students already are in a specific context, where the course contents is something they need in their day job. Thus, they can easily see the relevance, and know what they need to learn, at least in general terms. It has also always been very important for me to know the background of the students; what is their experience, what is their focus, what level are they on with respect to theory and practice in the subject of the teaching. I have also almost always tried to learn their names, and know a few personal things about them. Thus, I spend some time on this in the beginning of the course, but have always found it worthwhile.
During class, I try to engage the students in discussions about the theory and their own results. To initiate these discussions, I do several things; I provoke them, I say something obviously wrong, I tell them about the history of the subject, and how things have changed over time, I give them enough knowledge so that they can start a discussion on an abstract level, and dive into e.g. code details, during the discussion. I also ask them to assess each other’s solutions to exercises.
Future plans for teaching:
Based on learnings from the Teaching and Learning workshop by Quentin Vicens, I plan to use backward planning in all courses from now, on, meaning that I will start with the learning goals, describe the assessment of these learning goals reached, and then plan the lectures. The lectures will be planned to not cover the content in its completely, but use active learning to engage the students in the lessons.
This, together with formative assessments, will enable me to focus on the treshold concepts, and the common misunderstandings.
The courses I have given in industry on design patterns and various OO topics were developed mainly by myself. The overall rule of the course development was 40% lecturing, 60% workshops. There was a main exercise in all courses, normally a system that was partly designed and developed during the course in groups of three. When giving lectures I would encourage them to pose questions and also question if what I told them was correct. When they were working in teams I would walk around and answer questions, provoke the “fastest” students, and support the “slow” students.
The ATiSA course at the University of Aarhus was developed together with Henrik Bærbak Christensen following the theory of scientific teaching and constructive alignment. The dIntProg course was partly planned beforehand, my colleague and I could change each incividual lecture to make it more active. The crash-courses were planned solely by me.
My case study: the ATiSA course:
The development of the Advanced Topics in Software Architecture course was the most challenging and also the most interesting change of a course I have experienced. We started with course material in shape of powerpoint presentations given in the course the previous 5 years.
We decided to start from scratch with the course development, that is, following the theory of constructive alignment to start from the end. We began by looking at the learning goals for the course. Once we agreed on these, we decided how the exam should take place. Luckily, that was already done a few years before, so we could copy that style. Concretely, it was cases from the real world that the students had 15-20 minutes to prepare a presentation on. In the presentation they were asked to e.g. come up with a design, evaluate an architecture, or discuss different approaches.
Next step was to look at which points we should make at the sessions (we had seven session, each three hours long), we did not want to cover the whole curriculum, instead we wanted to focus on the common misunderstandings and the parts of the course we believed to be vital. Based on this list, we divided the points onto the 7 sessions and decided what activities we would use at each session to enhance their understanding and give them time to reflect on and discuss the content. We chose activities like use of peer discussion and clickers, jeopardy games, strip sequences, case problems to work on in groups, and one-minute papers.
Then we worked on our presentations. We used what we could from the old powerpoint presentations, but instead of 45 minutes presentation per teaching hour, we spent around 10-15 minutes per hour. The rest of the time was student activities.
This worked well in various ways; creating the course was a lot of fun for us, conducting the course was a lot of fun for us and, as it turned out, also for the students. The students were more active in class and we felt more appreciated, since they were not, or at least to a very little degree sleeping or playing with their computers in class. Also, out of 48 students, we had around 40 students present and active at each session.
Right after the second session, we asked the students what they thought of the new teaching style, and the answer “It is fun and I learn a lot” scored 82%, “I would like to go back to the lectures you used to do” 8%, “It is fun, but I don’t seem to learn anything” 3%, “I haven’t really thought about it” 6%. The total number of votes were 34, out of 38 students present.
Based on this formative assessment, we kept on with the new teaching style.
After the course the evaluations were also positive. Many remarked that they had enjoyed the active learning form of teaching. On first glance the grades also seem to be better than the last years, but the numbers need more statistical work to know for sure, if they can be trusted.
My reflections on this course is that, it was more fun for my colleague and I to prepare for this, and also a lot more entertaining to give the lectures this way. Mostly the students liked it, and since the assignments they handed in and their grades after the course were not significantly worse than usual, we believe this is a way of teaching that we will strive to use in the future.
Participation in evaluation work at the faculty level
I have been the project leader of the ESTEEM project at the university of Aarhus for a little more than a year.
The goal of ESTEEM is to improve undergraduate and graduate education through implementing research-proven teaching practices that focus on student learning.
I was the leader of an initiative to implement peer supervision between the lecturers at the Institute of Computer Science. I am also a member of one peer supervision group, where we observe each others teaching, and one group which uses peer supervision in a coaching fashion with respect to all kinds of work we do at the university and the priorities between the different activities.
Appendix A: Evaluations from Students
ATiSA evaluation of Aino’s dissemination skills:
Don’t know/not relevant 6,7%
Very bad 0%
Very good 46,7%
Additional comment; “She is super funny, and it is great to feel, that she loves to teach this course. It is very inspiring. “
From an OO course in industry:
Aino Vonge Corry as a teacher:
Very good: 4
Good : 1
Bad : 0
Very bad : 0
Additional comment; “Aino is smart and sweet”