Pedagogical Approach

Background

I have taught more than 60 computer science, information system and information technology courses over the last 22 years. I currently teach undergraduate and graduate classes in security and privacy, risk management, leadership and change management, and project management.

These courses have been taught in a variety of formats including traditional classroom, synchronous and asynchronous online, and in an executive MBA classroom setting.  I strive to engage the students in all settings to achieve their best possible performance regardless of the class format. Student evaluations of these classes has been exceptional and are uniformly above departmental averages.

Teaching Approach

My teaching approach is based on a sound pedagogical foundation, intrusive engagement, and a master/apprentice engagement that supports student learning through constant and nuanced feedback. Examining the courses I currently teach, the teaching approach becomes apparent. Each course has more than 200 content topics in the supporting learning management system (LMS) providing both mandatory and exploratory material. I firmly believe that a mind is not a vessel to be filled but a flame to be lit and thus I provide resources to capture the interest and imagination of the student. Each course has 60 or more videos I have created to explore the course content in each of the three courses. Each video is short to facilitate information chunking and are built around lesson objectives. Each course has lesson objectives (organized using Bloom’s Taxonomy) and rubrics providing a sound pedagogical basis that links book material, LMS content, presentations, and assessments together seamlessly so that disconnects do not occur and course content mastery builds over time.

Student engagement is intrusive. In additional to normal mechanisms I have honed over 2 decades of teaching, I have leveraged intelligent agents in each course so as to engage the student throughout the semester when certain events occur. If any student does not log into the LMS in seven days, an email is automatically sent to the student and me asking if there is something going on in their life that I can assist with and reminding them that they will not do well in the course unless they log in and consume the course content. A follow-up email will automatically be sent every day until they log into the course. This often leads to just in time engagement to keep students on the appropriate path to complete the course successfully. I also leverage intrusive engagement around student evaluations. If the students do well on a quiz, midterm, or final exam, I have intelligent agents automatically send the student a congratulatory note. If the students do poorly on an evaluation, different intelligent agents automatically send a different note engaging the student as to why they did poorly and how can I help them do better in the course. This often leads to meaningful professor-student engagement and changes in student performance.

Finally, my teaching approach features a master/apprentice and tiered learning model around student evaluations.  Let’s use my computer security class as an example. Six online quizzes are utilized to assess basic content mastery. These quizzes are difficult, timed events and test understanding and application of course concepts as opposed to regurgitation of content. The midterm is four short answer questions that require application of the course content using real world examples and companies. To support the master/apprentice model, I allow student to resubmit their midterm multiple times, without penalty, flipping the midterm from being solely an evaluation mechanism to a learning and evaluation tool. I provide detailed feedback and the student interacts with that feedback to provide better submissions. The grading standards are tough and captured in a grading rubric so that all students are graded consistently. While some students do not take advantage of this resubmission mechanism, most do and their submissions dramatically improve as they come to understand what a high quality submission looks like. I use a similar approach to the final exam. The students are required to submit a persuasive executive summary, supporting PowerPoint presentation, and longer supporting argument for adoption of a security technology, policy, or educational/training approach by evaluating four or more courses of action against four or more criteria. This is their capstone submission and requires students to demonstrate they can function effectively in a business setting and evaluate security. Like the midterm, I allow multiple submissions without penalty. Those students who plan ahead are rewarded. Those who do not are appropriately rewarded as well. This personal, detailed master/apprentice approach is very time intensive but supports real growth in student thinking and understanding. Relationships are built, even in online classes, that led to engagement with the student after they complete the course and are seeking advice in a professional setting or in looking for a job.

This teaching approach requires a significant time commitment to develop and each of the courses I currently teach took more than 6 months to build. This teaching approach likewise requires a significant time commitment to maintain as student engagement is personal and follows a master/apprentice model. The end result is deep and real student learning.

Conclusion

My teaching approach enjoys consistent and enthusiastic student support as demonstrated by RateMyProfessor, student evaluations, and academic awards. While very time intensive, I believe the approach leads to real learning and changing how the student views the world. At the end of the day, that is at the heart of real education.  I look forward to continuing to educate and inspire the next generation of students and leaders.

Course Listing

Year Semester Course Institution
2017 Summer CS8080 Introduction to Information Security

CIS 4680 Introduction to Information Security

Georgia State

Georgia State

2017 Spring CS8085 Risk Management

CIS 4680 Introduction to Information Security

Georgia State

Georgia State

2016 Fall CS199-QL Introduction to Cyber Security

CIS 4680 Introduction to Information Security

UAB

Georgia State

2016 Summer MIT 8080 Introduction to Information Security

CIS 8080 Introduction to Information Security

Georgia State

 

2016 Spring CIS 4680 Introduction to Information Security

CIS 4680 Introduction to Information Security

Georgia State

 

2015 Fall CIS 4680 Introduction to Information Security

MIT 8699 Leadership and Change Management

Georgia State

 

2015 Summer CIS 4680 Introduction to Information Security Georgia State
2015 Spring CIS 8000 Project Management

MIT 8699 Leadership and Change Management

Georgia State
2014 Fall CIS 4680 Introduction to Information Security

MIT 8080 Introduction to Information Security

Georgia State
2014 Summer ACCT 8680 Introduction to Information Security

CIS 8080 Introduction to Information Security

MIT 8080 Introduction to Information Security

Georgia State
2014 Spring CIS 8080 Introduction to Information Security Georgia State
2013 Fall CIS 8080 Introduction to Information Security

ACCT 8680 Introduction to Information Security

Georgia State
2013 Summer ACCT 8680 Introduction to Information Security

CIS 8080 Introduction to Information Security

MIT 8080 Introduction to Information Security

Georgia State
2012 Fall ACCT 8680 Introduction to Information Security

CIS 8080 Introduction to Information Security

Georgia State
2012 Summer ACCT 8680 Introduction to Information Security

CIS 8080 Introduction to Information Security

Georgia State
2007 Fall IS450 Principles of Distributed Application Engineering West Point
2006 Fall IS450 Principles of Distributed Application Engineering West Point
2005 Fall CS300 Computer Science Fundamentals West Point
2004 Fall CS300 Computer Science Fundamentals West Point
2003 Fall IT305 Theory and Practice of IT Military Systems

IT305 Theory and Practice of IT Military Systems

West Point
2003 Spring IT105 Introduction to Computing and Information Technology

IT105 Introduction to Computing and Information Technology

West Point
2002 Fall IT105 Introduction to Computing and Information Technology West Point
2002 Spring CS383 Computer Systems

CS383 Computer Systems

CS400 Computer Science Seminar

CS400 Professional Considerations

West Point
2001 Fall CS383 Computer Systems

CS383 Computer Systems

West Point
1998 Spring Special Topics in Computer Science (Databases) Central Texas College
1997 Fall Special Topics in Computer Science (Databases) Central Texas College
1996 Spring CS383 Information Systems

CS382B Computing for the General User

West Point
1995 Fall CS383 Information Systems

CS383 Information Systems

CS383 Information Systems

West Point
1995 Spring CS383 Information Systems

CS383 Information Systems

CS383 Information Systems

MS302 Junior Military Science

CS400 Computer Science Seminar

West Point
1994 Fall CS383 Information Systems

CS383 Information Systems

CS383 Information Systems

West Point
1994 Spring CS383 Information Systems

CS383 Information Systems

MS402 Senior Military Sciences

West Point
1993 Fall CS383 Information Systems

CS383 Information Systems

CS383 Information Systems

West Point