My Teaching Philosophy

I believe that we should never settle on “enough” - knowing enough, achieving enough, and being enough. I want to teach students how to find what enthuses them and to tap into their gifts and passion to help others in need. Curiosity is a key trait that I would want to instill into my students.

Computer science on a whole is about nonconformity to the conventional way of doing things - the primary goal of developing algorithms, for instance, is to optimize existing processes or to improve their performance in some way. In the average curriculum, we learn about classical algorithms and data structures that can be applicable to many problems we have yet to address. Programming languages allow us to expressively code and define solutions to many existing problems. These elements are our tools of the trade, much like a carpenter's power tools and equipment. Through my instruction, what matters is laying a solid foundation in understanding fundamentals: if students can understand the underlying purpose of tools, coding languages or concepts we teach, they can better develop their skills in problem-solving, which is a key skill needed for engineers in industry and academia alike.

In our world, no matter the area or field, there are numerous problems to solve, and there are many communities or populations whom we can always help. Through robotics and artificial intelligence, we can pave a path for newer and safer technologies for human life. I want students to ultimately think about the way they can help others with their talents. I believe that through robotics and artificial intelligence, we can develop smarter, easier and safer solutions to several problems existing in our work today.

Education is a means of giving “power” to those who choose to accept it – as educators, we are tasked to provide eager individuals of different backgrounds (regardless of class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, financial status or legal status) with the chance to explore the world through knowledge and developing curious minds.

Rather than focusing primarily on the end-goal of acquiring a degree (which, of course, is itself very important for someone to establish themselves in the world), I believe that education, specifically the process of learning, is never-ending; this philosophy of ceaselessly asking questions and seeking answers to existing problems in the world today is what I would mainly impart through my instruction and guidance. My ultimate aim is to bring out the best out of my students, to help them to find their niche, and to make their own impact on the global community. As professors, we should invest time into our students' development to prepare them for the future.

I believe students learn best by immersing themselves into whatever course or area they are enrolled in, and my approach to teaching will encourage students to dive further and explore.

During my experience of teaching, the assignments that I gave to my students encouraged them to research at their own pace and to come up with interesting conclusions or ideas about the subject matter through open-ended questions. I prefer these types of questions rather than simple, short-answer questions, which instead promote quick solutions and memorization. Although this may be effective for some, college graduates will find themselves relying more on ideas or concepts they learned through deeper understanding. For instance, from my course "IT Concepts", I would have students research what IMDb is and how it works. In addition, I asked students to investigate what is the Bacon number (a concept that has some ties to graph theory) and what is the concept of the six degrees of separation. In this course, the students would not normally learn this material from their books, but they will still learn very interesting concepts related to their course material. I like to go the extra mile in teaching students very interesting facts or thought-provoking technologies or concepts, because they will never know when it may help them. For other courses, I would take a similar approach to make their learning experience more vivid and memorable, as I have found from my own experience in school that certain courses are taught in a very monotonic or lackadaisical way. Rather than focusing so much on memorization, students should strive to understand the material. This will give students the enthusiasm to pursue their own ideas and to give them the confidence to live their own life. I also encourage my students to ask questions, and I usually accommodate questions or conversations even outside of office hours.

A Wordle Image of my Teaching Philosophy