My teaching philosophy has been shaped by my parents (both are teachers) and the outstanding faculty members from whom I have been fortunate to receive guidance. I am committed to promoting learning and understanding for students in a non-threatening but challenging classroom environment. I firmly believe that teaching is a two-way process, and this belief is reinstated year after year. Moreover, as a teacher, I seek not only to explore new knowledge but also to inspire and equip students with the knowledge and tools needed to understand and solve business problems in information systems. My progress on this front continues to be an incredible journey, to say the least. As an MIS professor, I believe each and every class activity needs purpose. That activity can be a short and fun story about the Roman history, but I could connect it to an analogy for switching technologies to improve the learning in my class. I exclusively design all my technical assignments to add an extra line in my students’ resumes. This increases the level of difficulty, but I believe most students appreciate this approach.
Every year, I invite one senior, one junior faculty to evaluate my courses in order to benefit from their experience and innovativeness. This practice not only increases my teaching quality, but also improves communication among us, the faculty.
Over the years, I have gained considerable course development and teaching experience. My innovative approach have been rewarded and recognized. In yearly performance reviews, I have been consistently evaluated as “highly-meritorious”, which is the highest performance level at the University of Washington.
I have designed four new courses at UW Bothell to improve the MIS concentration. In each course, my priority was to challenge students with useful material and to improve their learning. My courses are not only popular, but they also have high challenge and engagement index (CEI). CEI is a combined measure used at the University of Washington to improve the quality of teaching. CEI reflects how challenging students found a course, and how engaged they were in it. This shows that I do not only get high instructor evaluations, but also teach challenging courses to improve student learning.
Next, you can find the details for the courses I developed and taught.
Enterprise IT Management (MBA-level)
I designed this course to provide a strategic understanding of information technologies (IT) management. Becoming an IT leader requires a broad understanding of the impact of information technology on the corporation. This starts with an understanding of the economics of the production and distribution of key information technologies, continues with the grasp of the process by which information technologies have an impact on businesses: efficiency, productivity, business value, performance and human capital effects. Enterprise IT Management is an organized way of developing and providing managerial decision-making process in the IT field.
Enterprise IT is a case-based discussion course. The required material consists of a Harvard textbook, five cases, and other ad-hoc material such as the recent IT security news articles. I also prefer to change at least one case every year. I assess student performance with nine short essays (due before every class meeting), five case analysis write-ups, and a term project on an emerging information technology. This course received extremely well student evaluation (as high as 4.9/5 for instructor effectiveness, 4.8/5 average, and 6.6/7 challenge and engagement index.) More importantly, these scores have been consistently high over the years.
Digital Business Lab (Undergraduate, senior-level, MIS Capstone)
I designed digital business lab as the capstone course for the undergraduate MIS concentration. IT has the potential to change the landscape of global competition, increase productivity, change industry structure, make markets more efficient, and alter a firm’s competitive position. IT can increase the efficiency of every business activity from product design, production, purchasing, marketing, customer/supplier relationships to human resource management. Indeed, the rapid rate of IT innovation, massive investments in the IT infrastructure and applications, conflicting viewpoints regarding the value of IT and the massive erosion of technology related wealth raise a gamut of issues for managers in user organizations, financial institutions, vendor organizations and consulting firms: Do IT and the Internet change basic economic principles and strategies? Does the ability to search, seek and share information regardless of time, space and geographical differences increase market efficiency? Is such efficiency beneficial to all market participants? How and where can IT benefit an organization? How should a firm proceed to transform itself into an electronic business? Are there any killer applications that can still justify large investments in IT infrastructure (e.g., to support 4th generation wireless)? Which types of information technologies hold promise for the future? This course has been designed to provide frameworks and underlying principles to address these and other related issues.
Digital business lab includes a technical project and assignments to support this core. Similar to my graduate-level course, required materials include a textbook, and five Harvard cases. Students are assessed based on their project presentation, final report, eighteen small assignments (one for each book chapter), and case write-ups. This course also has been a repeating success story with student evaluations as high as 4.9/5, average 4.8/5, and challenge and engagement index 5.8/7.
Information Management and Analysis (Undergraduate, junior-level)
This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of information technologies and to the strategic opportunities and challenges presented by these technologies. I designed this course based on my belief that business opportunities and challenges are best addressed through a fundamental understanding of management and technological concepts. Topics covered include e-business, collaboration through IT, databases, telecommunication technologies, and IT security. While there is some introduction to technical details, the real impact of this class is gained by understanding the impact of technology on how business is done.
Information Management and Analysis is the first MIS course for most students, and it is an open elective. This course has only one required textbook. Technical projects such as data analysis and database design along with midterm and final exams evaluate students on the course content. Over the years, I found the balance among the students with wide spectrum of skills and increased evaluation scores to 4.6/5, with challenge and engagement index 5.6/7.
Hybrid MIS Introduction (Undergraduate, junior-level, 50% online)
This is the first hybrid course I have designed and taught. “Hybrid course” means that online materials replace 50% in-class material. My hybrid course utilized video tutorials, online trainings, and collaborative tools such as online discussion boards. More importantly, this has been the first course ever designed as hybrid at the UW Bothell, School of Business.
The content and materials are similar to the in-class information management and analysis course, which includes an introductory MIS book, along with a personal computer. I assess student performance with two exams, five technical projects (such as data analysis and database design), a term project, and online participation. It was challenging to set the right expectations in the first year. Nonetheless, over time, course evaluations increased to 4.1/5, along with challenge and engagement index 5.5/7. [See the video below for a sample hybrid material]
Information Technology in Business (Undergraduate, sophomore-level, at the UT Austin)
My first academic instructorship experience began at The University of Texas at Austin, where I have been selected to teach an introductory MIS course after winning a teach-off competition among all Ph.D. students. In this course, I had limited course development flexibility but I was able to design business analytics and solver model projects. These assignments are still in use for all Information Technology in Business sections, which contains approximately 300 students. Students evaluated my effectiveness as 4.5/5, which was the highest score for a Ph.D. student instructor.
While my courses have been received very well, I believe that there is always room for improvement. I continuously seek to improve the technical rigor of my assignments with the latest innovations in the information systems. My overarching endeavor is to help students equip themselves with knowledge and skills that would help them compete in the real world. The number of students in the MIS concentration increased every year since I joined, and I would like to think it is partly because of my rigorous approach to course design and teaching.
In a nutshell, coming from a family of teachers, mentorship of outstanding faculty, and invaluable tacit knowledge I gathered over time merge into one indivisible whole as my teaching goal: to improve people’s lives through education.