Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ), a Qatar Foundation partner university, has hosted its annual Teaching Week, highlighting its commitment to educating exemplary engineers through talks, panels and showcases.
The week’s activities were organized by TAMUQ’s Center for Teaching and Learning, which aims to highlight teaching innovation and excellence in engineering education.
The keynote address, ‘STEM Education: Current Issues and Future Directions’, was delivered by Dr. Richard M. Felder and Dr. Rebecca Brent, co-authors of Teaching and Learning STEM: A Practical Guide. In their talk, they asked four key questions: How should curricula be structured? How should classes be taught? Who should teach? And how should faculty be prepared to teach?
They answered each question through a comparison between traditional and emerging methods in teaching, and hosted two hands-on workshops with faculty and teaching staff at TAMUQ to provide practical tips to achieve active learning.
Teaching Week also focused on extended reality applications in teaching. Extended reality is a term referring to all computer-generated environments and wearable technologies, and Associate Mechanical Engineering Professor Dr. Bilal Mansoor and software applications developer Ali Sheharyar gave a presentation on the mixed-reality applications they are utilizing in classrooms today.
Sheharyar explained the usefulness of oil and gas field visualizations and even augmented and interactive textbooks, while Dr. Mansoor showcased the app he created to enhance students’ visual and spatial skills in his materials science class. Mechanical Engineering Professor Dr. Arun Srinivasa then outlined the future of augmented lab courses at Texas A&M University, designed to give students a deeper understanding of how a lab is operated safely.
Teaching Week also included an event in which winners of transformative educational experience (TEE) grants displayed their projects and the progress they have made on them. The grants provide faculty and staff with funding to develop ways of enhancing student learning.
The week concluded with a talk from Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Dr. Reza Tafreshi, the most recent recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award College-level in Teaching from Texas A&M University’s Association of Former Students. He summarized his teaching principles and how he has emphasized project-based learning techniques, and, speaking about what a student needs to do to be a good student in his class, said, “There is no requirement other than enthusiasm.”
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