Successful Teaching Goals

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I believe that successful teaching practices at university level not only require enthusiastic students, expert and knowledgeable instructors, and well-organized syllabi and course materials, but they also require passionate, dedicative and enthusiastic instructors. As an earth science and engineering instructor, my major goals are: (i) to exemplify fundamental theories and applications (ii) to learn my students both conceptual and critical thinking skills in a variety of earth-related problems, and (iii) to familiarize the students with the knowledge frontier and instruct them how to plan and conduct a research study in this area.
To achieve my first goal, I use a variety of modern teaching aids to assist the conventional teaching method.
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For this aim, I begin with the concepts and essential steps of building a conceptual model of a simple problem, and then improve the students’ critical thinking skills through improving and completing the initial model. For instance, in a senior level course in “Mine design project” I start the class with the statement of the problem which is typically maximizing the net present value of a mining case study. First, I encourage the whole class to construct the building blocks of a conceptual model for the problem at hand through a series of “brain storming” sessions. Second, I divide the students into several groups and assign them the important task of criticizing other groups’ ideas, procedures, and solutions. The semester will include 2-3 of such assignments that establish both the conceptual modeling and critical thinking …show more content…
Depending on the level of a course, at the beginning of the semester, I announce assignments and expectations in the form of a research project as part of my evaluation scheme. The class will be divided in different groups to work on their research project, and their progress will be monitored during the semester. All research topics will be defined from my current or previous research studies. At the end of the semester the results will be presented in the form of conference and/or journal articles. For instance, in a recent graduate level course titled “transportation in mines”, beside regular assignments and quizzes, I introduced my recent research in “determinants of fuel consumption in mining trucks” as part of the course evaluation. The students were divided in three groups, and each of them were assigned with a major task of my research including: (i) defining a conceptual model of fuel consumption in mining dump trucks, (ii) designing data acquisition plan and statistical analysis, and (iii) interpreting the results and proposing practical solutions to reduce fuel consumption. Finally, all groups were asked to engage in documenting the whole tasks and writing and discussing the conclusions. At the end of the semester I compared my research results with those of the students and we discussed

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