I conceive university education as having two fundamental purposes. Its original, traditional goal has been to form well-rounded knowledgeable citizens—those with the literary, cultural, and technological skills who can serve active roles and make valuable contributions to their society. The second goal, which has arisen mainly in the past century, has been to perfect the specialized competences of these students in a particular field of knowledge, so that they can productively work in a career in their field of specialization. My teaching philosophy addresses both aspects.
I try to develop my students’ reasoning and analytical skills, and I strive to bring them into the systems mode of thinking that is the hallmark of information systems, integrating business and technical skills. I also try to train students in specific skills that they are most likely to encounter in their work lives both during and after university. Thus, I try to give them practical knowledge so that they can be immediately productive, and educate them with the ability to teach themselves new knowledge and skills as they meet various challenges in their professional lives. My philosophy meshes well with Concordia University’s former motto, “Real education for the real world”—I try to give students a solid educational formation to prepare them for the exciting challenges of their professional lives. Specifically, I have the following primary objectives in my teaching:
- Inculcate the philosophy and theory of information systems, specifically for the course being taught;
- Equip them with the hands-on skills and introduce them to the practical knowledge they are most likely to encounter in practice;
- Educate them in how to teach themselves with more specialized particular skills that they might need in the field.
I believe that for adult learners, their learning is primarily their own responsibility, unlike in the case for high school and lower levels of education. The quality of the students’ education depends primarily on their own effort. However, I believe that I have a crucial role to play by providing them the resources that will facilitate their learning, both regarding specific knowledge and in framing the environment for learning. Thus, I am responsible to provide them quality lectures, exercises, activities, textbooks, assignments, and assessments. Equally importantly, I am responsible to excite and motivate them to the point where they value the subject matter and are willing and able to apply themselves to enhance their own learning. This is what I try to accomplish in my teaching.