In my opinion, teaching and research are two sides of the same coin. While research enables us to discover new findings, improve our knowledge and/or to answer a specific question about a certain topic, teaching helps us to convey new research ideas and findings to students. I am very passionate about teaching. Teaching has always been the most enjoyable and rewarding part of my academic experience. I believe that my teaching experience has not only taught me teaching techniques and strategies, but also has given me many transferable skills that could potentially be used in any academic environments. I initially was given teaching responsivites during my PhD studies.
Teaching duties were part of my PhD scholarship that I had earned and I was given the opportunity to be a lab instructor. Once again during my postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at El Paso, I was given the opportunity to teach three different courses to undergraduate and graduate students. My two and half year teaching experience as an educator at the University of Texas at El Paso has strengthened my conviction towards pursuing a career as an educator.
One of my main objectives in teaching electrical engineering courses is to help students understand the fundamental concepts and theories and to give them a strong foundation of knowledge in preparation for learning future electrical engineering modules. In addition, in order to attract students’ attention and interest, and also to enhance students’ motivation in the learning process, which in my view is an essential element of effective teaching, I always seek to identify the potential applications of the fundamental concepts that are covered in lecture in finding solutions for real-world problems. One important goal of my teaching strategy is to enable students to think critically, creatively and independently and at the same time master important technical skills in a disciplined and structured pace.
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I usually expose my students to challenging tasks to stretch their capabilities, develop their skills and increase their self-confidence. This is specifically important in the field of engineering where students are encouraged to develop and improve their problem-solving, critical thinking and analytical skills. In my classes, I use an interactive teaching style that encourages students’ participation and enthusiasm in learning activates. I sometimes, especially in my graduate level classes, get students to participate in classroom discussions. In this way, I can encourage dialogue among students and develop students’ public speaking skills.
Many of the great lectures I attended in the past were given by highly qualified and experienced lecturers in the late years of their academic careers. I do not believe that this was a coincidence, but rather an emphasis on the fact that it takes many years for an individual to become a great lecturer. As a junior lecturer who is at the beginning of his academic career, I may not be aware of some of my weaknesses, but I am always willing to accept suggestions and criticisms and I am eager to continuously improve myself. I always try my best to be an effective educator, thus, I highly encourage students to provide feedback to me on my teaching performance and course materials through final-term evaluations.
I am a strong believer of engaging undergraduate students in research and creative activities with faculty members. Although, involving undergraduate students in research projects both within and outside of the classroom, is a very time-consuming activity and is not without challenges, it can provide opportunity for students to practically work on real research projects alongside academic researchers and learn valuable skills in process. In addition, acquiring research experience at undergraduate level will allow students to better understand published scientific studies, learn to balance individual work with collaborative teamwork, determine an area of potential interest, and jump-start their careers as researchers. Moreover, exposing undergraduate students to research opportunities will enable them to identify their passion for a particular area of research and encourage them to continue on to graduate studies and faculty positions.
The University of Texas at El Paso has a strong tradition of involving undergraduate students in research-focused programs. As a former educator at the University of Texas at El Paso, I worked on a research-intensive training program that was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The aim of this program was to prepare and educate undergraduate students, those who have strong motivation and clear goals, to become future researchers in biomedical engineering. As part of my job to prepare undergraduate students for research in biomedical engineering, I designed, developed and taught a novel course on the emerging topic of Mobile Health (mHealth) to freshman engineering students.
The goal of this course was to train learners with very little initial knowledge of the subject mater to acquire hands-on training in biomedical research within a semester timeframe. Although teaching this course within the limited time-frame presented additional challenges to students and to me as an instructor, the benefits from gaining hands-on research experience, increased student motivation and improved academic performance far outweighed the difficulties for everyone. Moreover, the intensive research experience was perceived as an impactful exercise enabling students to think about the pursuit of graduate study in engineering applications to biomedical and health research fields and ultimate career success in these areas.
Based on my previous teaching experience, I found all aspects of teaching such as lecturing, interacting with students and lab experiments to be encouraging and rewarding. As a junior educator, I would be glad to teach nearly all topics of electrical engineering curriculum. I particularly have solid background in Electronic Circuits and Systems, Wireless Communications, Wireless Sensor Networks, Embedded Systems, Analog and Digital Electronics, Digital Signal Processing (DSP), Microcontrollers, Error Control Coding, Telecommunication Networks and biomedical technologies.
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