Teaching & Lecturing
The world changed forever on September 11th 2001, and one minor effect was on me. With the slump in the airline business, Honeywell closed the division I was in, making me redundant.
I took this as a chance to change career and take up the teaching role I had been doing on an occaisional basis as a full time job. I greatly enjoy teaching, so rather than look for a permanent post involving research I went freelance, employed on a course by course basis by various leading UK universities.
At Reading I taught courses mainly for the first cohort of a new degree of “Information Technology”, a programme aimed at preparing students for a career in the IT industry by concentrating on the application of IT in modern business.
During my time at Reading I was pleased to be nominated by students for the “Teaching Excellence Award” and reached the final shortlist of 12.
I prepared and taught both first and second year courses in Software Engineering, using Somerville as the course text. The first year included an individual assignment looking at failed projects, the second year included a group project based on a real world business problem. I set and marked final examinations for both courses. We used Ian Sommerville’s “Software Engineering” as the course text.
Commercial Off-The-Shelf Software
This was an innovative course aiming to look at the origin, use and abuse of commercial “boxed” software. It covered selection, deployment and customisation of commercially available software, including open-source. There was an individual assignment in the form of a consultancy report for a fictitious client, two assessment tests and a final examination, all of which I set and marked.
Foundation Year Computer Sceince
This was an ‘A’ level equivalent course offered to overseas students without recognised qualifications, success in the final examination leading to a place on an undergraduate degree.
Communications and Networks
I taught 80% of this course, concentrating on the high level protocols, with Peterson and Davie’s “Computer Networks” as the course text. I also set and marked 5 out of 6 final examination questions. There were usually around 120 students on this course.
Royal Holloway University of London
This was a classic second year OS course, a lot like the one I listened to 20 year’s before, disk queueing algorithms and all. I did however try to draw parallels with more other areas of computer science and business to demonstrate the applicability of these algorithms in other areas. There were 3 compulsory assignments and a 90 minute examination, all of which I set and marked.
Digital Systems II
Another second year course, concentrating on CPU design, using the Patterson and Hennessy book “Computer Organisation and Design”. This is one of the best and most interesting textbooks I have ever read, clearly written by two guys who obviously did this stuff for real. My students had to be satisfied with a software emulator and a 2 hour examination.
I have also been involved in various other teaching projects:
- For Bracknell Forest Borough Council I delivered an Adult Education evening class on “Website Design With Dreamweaver”
- A special lecture for the Bracknell area University of the Third Age (U3A) on “The Internet – How Does It Work?”
- I have invigilated GCSE and ‘A’ level examinations at the William Farr Church of England Secondary School, including assisting candidates with special needs as a reader and a scribe.
- I am currently tutoring a variety of Open University modules covering all undergraduate levels of the Computer Science curriculum.