Most of my current teaching is based around staff development, rather than teaching for students. This includes a particular interest in developing academic integrity and contract cheating workshops, both for new teachers and for experienced staff.

While I worked at Birmingham City University, I taught across a variety of modules. These varies from year-to-year, and it’s fair to say that I’ve taught across a wide cross section of different areas, particularly when my previous teaching experience at London South Bank University is taken into account. First and foremost, I consider my main duty to be supporting students to gain new skills and knowledge.

Towards the end of my time at Birmingham City University, the main modules I taught on included Professional Practice and Mathematics.

Professional Practice is a second year module which covers a variety of different areas designed to help students in their final year and in their subsequent working life. The first section of the module is based around student placements and employability, designed to show students how to represent themselves online professionally using web sites and social media, as well as to help them with CV writing, job applications, assessment centres, interviews and operating successfully in the workplace. The second section of the module is based around more traditional research skills and project skills, although this tends to be hand on. This covers quantitative and qualitative research methods, such as survey design, academic writing and reseach presentation, academic literature, statistical analysis and poster design. This is designed to prepare students for their final year project.

I also taught heavily on first year mathematics. This covers a variety of topics, both from the GCSE and ‘A’ Level syllabus, as well as areas of Discrete Mathematics, such as propositional and predicate logic which students are unlikely to have seen before, but which are key to subjects such as Computer Science. This also feeds into a final year Software Engineering module which I’m involved with, where I teach the Z specification language for Formal Methods. With my background in Software Engineering, I’ve taught widely around that subject in the past, across a variety of programming languages and software methodologies.

In the past, I was heavily involved with teaching Human Computer Interaction and Usability Engineering. These are both areas which continue to interest me greatly, and I often bring in examples from these fields into other aspects of my teaching, even though they are not so cleanly part of the current syllabuses that we offer. With the current developments in Web Systems and Mobile Computing, I feel that these are areas that are of continued interest to all students and those people moving into a professional career within the Computing discipline.

I also provided lectures to support students on their Final Year Project. I’ve been heavily involved in that field in the past, having coordinated Final Year Projects for a number of years (only stopping due to duplication in the role due to internal university restructuring) and have participated widely in national events to do with project coordination, such as the Disciplinary Commons into project work. I feel that the project is one of the most important areas that students will ever be involved with, as it brings together their entire course and provides the main portfolio that they can use for the purposes of employability.

On a professional level, I’ve presented at many external workshops, particularly based around my research into plagiarism prevention and detection, contract cheating and employability, but also around the social media and web 2.0 areas. Internally, I’ve provided staff development on these areas, as well as showcasing practitioner research from other universities and presenting on areas like assessment design.

I am always committed to improve my teaching within the confines of the modules that I am allocated, and actively participate in the Higher Education Academy, particularly within the STEM Discipline (and previously within the Subject Centre for Information and Computer Sciences) to facilitate that.

1 thought on “Teaching”

  1. Hi Thomas

    I watched you on Fake Britain this morning. I am so pleased that you have been so successful in your career but you always were a dedicated hard worker even as a 15 / 16 year old at school. I only hope that those other pupils who gave you a hard time at school are now regretting that they didn’t work as hard as you! I wish you every success for the future.

    Richard Speirs

    Chemistry teacher

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