Teaching Methodology – Strategies and Practices

Every semester, I start my class for the first time with a short briefing and introduction to the course. Students are well informed about the course objectives, contents, references and assessment methods. I also take the opportunity to introduce myself and ask a few of them to introduce themselves and their expectations from the course in order to break the ice. I try to create a friendly and comfortable environment in my class so that the students feel encouraged and motivated to participate.

I always make sure that my lectures are very well prepared and organised. I like to begin my class by asking the students to recall what have been taught from the previous class and I almost always end my class by asking student to briefly tell what they have learnt from the class. I encourage questions and ask a lot of questions during my lectures to make sure that the class is alive and that the students are alert and attentive. I like to share a short story as an interlude to my lectures to make the class alive and get the attention of the students.

In my class, I try to use simple language to explain difficult concept and highlight the basic. I try to optimise the use of texts, graphics, audio and multimedia in my teaching. For example, in teaching subject Civil Engineering Information System, I am using Microsoft PowerPoint and web pages to explain the concept and show some examples of information system. The topics which are related to the application software are conducted in computer laboratory with the hands-on session. To me, it is very important to create an interactive learning environment to ensure that the learning process is more lively and the students understanding are enhanced.

I believe teaching and learning must involve active participation from students and lecturer. I have adopted blended learning and active learning strategies in my traditional face-to-face teaching. I used these techniques to ensure that I can involve more students in the teaching and learning process. I divide the students into small group of three to four. Each group will get a different working topic. Presentation will be required to each group in class. This to ensure that the students can practice their communication skills as well as other attribute of generic skills.

I also make full use of UTM e-learning in my teaching. I manage my students to download my notes and submit their assignments through the e-learning. I put all of the course materials such as notes, assignments, projects and also past year’s exam papers there. I always encourage students to discuss on any topics related in civil engineering through e-learning.

I always encourage students to take advantage of resources other than standard course materials such as Internet or google. For example, I assign projects that require interaction with the World Wide Web, and other Internet related resources. By doing so, I hope to show my students the tremendous availability of resources to use in learning about almost any subject matter they are studying.

As part of the coursework, assignments and projects are given to the students. By dividing them into groups of not more than 5 students, I give the problems that related to civil engineering for each group and guidelines to solve the problems. I always make a real life topic towards their project work. The students are required to write a report on their project and present it in the classroom. The usage of generic skill is becoming a focus in my class.

The students are continuously assessed throughout the semester. The test is usually given at week 7. To ensure the questions have different level of difficulties, I will focus level 1 to 3 of Blooms taxonomy for test and higher level for the examination. The examination is a comprehensive evaluation of course which covers all material from week 1 to week 14. Examination takes 50% of the total course marks.