I have mentioned before my desire to help create a course at the University which focuses on iOS Application Development as well as a few other courses. This week I received confirmation that the iOS Application Development course will be taught in the semester from September to December later this year…this makes me very excited. Before I received confirmation, I have been asking students for their opinions about courses and service at the University and unfortunately the responses have been more negative than positive. One of the main complaints with the programming courses is that there isn’t enough actual programming done in the classroom. As a result, every class I lecture focuses mainly on practical work. The theory is touched on as an introduction but I rely on the students to do additional reading after the concept is grasped from the practical work done in class. This is more so with the Design Patterns Course I developed for the Bachelor’s programme this semester. Yesterday I spoke with the second Design Patterns class about the iOS Application Development course and I asked for their opinions. Most of them were not pleased with the way the Android course was delivered so it was important that I find out what exactly disappointed them to ensure they feel contented after completing the iOS Application Development course. This conversation with the students left me with a lot more information than I expected. It reminded me of my time studying and how I saw so many changes that could have been made to the degree programs I did to help improve the service the students received. I will continue to ask for students’ opinion while developing the course over the next few months and also try to find out what other courses they would like to see as part of the Degree Programme. I am now able to create the change I wanted to see many years ago, so it’s important that I do as much as I can to improve the learning experience of the students while I’m lecturing at the University.
Yesterday’s C++ class was so exciting. Firstly I decided to structure the exam from last week a bit differently and give the students the opportunity to have a retake. The initial quiz was mainly free text and I don’t think that worked very well. After the exam, the students finally had the opportunity to create their first HelloWorld program using C++. Last minute I decided to change the way I would start them coding. I wanted to explain more about the types of editors, the compiler, linking and how a program goes from words in an editor to a working application. However, I realised it would probably be better for them to start a simple program and when the concepts are explained, have something to refer those concepts to. I must admit, for a group of electrical engineers in training, they were quite excited about building applications. I focused mainly on input (cin) and output (cout) and two data types, string and int. A few of the students even improvised and extended on the practical work done in the class session, which I was very happy to see. The class finished around 8:35PM last night as the energy was so good in the room. If it wasn’t for my 4:00AM wake up time this morning and the campus security patiently waiting outside the classroom door to close the room, I would have probably carried the class until 9:00PM. I’m excited for next week’s class and I hope the students are as well.
This week is mid-terms at the University and I would be testing my Java and C++ classes. I’m excited to see how these students perform in the examinations as this is not only a test of how well they understand the work but also a test of how well I perform as an instructor. I try to teach in such a way that I incorporate a little of the three main learning styles. For those auditory learners, I explain the concepts in class usually following from a powerpoint presentation, for the visual learners I will use examples on the board as well as in the handouts and for the kinesthetic leaners I will give exercises in class as well as practice exercises at home. I also refer the students to videos on Youtube and Udemy so they can look at the concepts before class and review them after class to reinforce what was learnt. I hope my approach works and they are understanding what is being taught. I guess by next week I’ll know if my approach is working and where I may need to make improvements.