Teaching and learning are separate activities. I believe that teaching consists in making available knowledge, expertise and support, and providing the opportunity to learn. This means that students are responsible for learning. An instructor can motivate, teach and offer support, but responsibility for learning lies with the students. This responsibility for their own learning prepares students for their life after university, in which lifelong learning and self-motivated seeking our of new knowledge and the continued acquisition of new skills are important. A university is more than an institution of instruction but graduates students that are sufficiently mature for their future life and careers. This must be especially the case for students in applied areas like business administration and information systems. I consider students to be intelligent and responsible learners, who must assume partial responsibility for the outcome of their university career.
My teaching style is "hands on" when possible, in the sense that I ask students to not only learn the concepts and theory but also gain familiarity with performing realistic tasks and exercises. While the traditional lecture is an important tool to convey basic information, I believe that real knowledge can be gained only through application and problem solving. The courses that I have taught have had a strong component of applied examples, in-class demonstrations, hands-on assignments and project work.
I also apply this philosophy to myself and believe that I should not teach what I have not done myself. Consequently, for many technology related courses I have developed deep expertise in the technologies that form part of a course. I believe that this expertise and practical knowledge, rather than only knowledge theoretical concepts, are important to good teaching; I hope to be recognized as an expert with relevant practical knowledge and skills, rather than just an instructor teaching from a textbook.
My teaching approach is to provide challenges to students and offer assistance to overcome them. From my own experience as a student and researcher I know that accepting and overcoming a challenge is a rewarding and motivating experience. For example, I might cover basic principles of business processes in a course, but will refer students to additional literature for their project or assignment, and be available to answer specific questions. Students having to seek out and pull together knowledge is realistic in their future careers, but very different from the pushing of knowledge to them that they may experience in traditional lectures.
I set high standards and have high expectations of my students. The difference between good and excellent course performance is the difference between competence in performance and the ability for critical reflection and evaluation of the topic. For example, while a competent student in a business process class may be able to define a business process that is correct and solves a particular problem, excellent performance requires a demonstration of critical reflection on the problem, the technology, or the solution.
In my courses, I value group work among students. While this has some associated problems like "free-riding", group work is essential to develop communication, management, and teamwork skills. It is also required in today's workforce and must be an essential and integral part of any curriculum.
From a curriculum perspective, I believe that as a scholar and teacher it is important to provide students with the most rigorous, most relevant, most useful and most up-to-date curriculum that I can design. This requires continuous improvement of courses and continuous reevaluation of the appropriateness of learning goals, objectives, course content and pedagogical approaches. I believe that students will develop an interest when relevance and usefulness of a course are effectively communicated to them. Increased interest in a course is a prerequisite for a better learning outcome. The importance of rigour and relevance does not only apply to individual courses but also the curriculum in a particular discipline as whole. Again, I believe that continuous reevaluation and redevelopment are required to capture student interest and improve student learning outcomes.