SCS Faculty Candidate
- Gates Hillman Centers
- Reddy Conference Room 4405
- HOUDA BOUAMOR
- Visiting Assistant Professor of Computing
- Computer Science Department
- Carnegie Mellon University - Qatar
Teaching introductory computer science courses at CMU Qatar
In this talk I will start with a brief introduction of my teaching strategy and how I apply it in teaching introductory computer science courses. My teaching philosophy is very centered on students. A typical lecture starts by fostering student interest in the general topic by explaining where it fits in the grand scheme of course. Then we focus on the learning objectives and describe how the knowledge they gain and the skills they acquire will benefit them in real-life scenarios. I also, constantly keep track of how engaged and interested they are with the material being presented. Tracking student comprehension helps me better know the students and the way they think, which then helps me adapt to how new material should be presented and ensure that students (including un/under-prepared ones) appreciate the need for this material. As the class unfolds, I follow this approach for the individual topics covered in each lecture: in particular, I situate them within the course as a whole, and spend some time drawing analogies with notions they are familiar with.
In order to showcase this strategy, I will give a short sample lecture on Priority Queues, an abstract data type that generalizes Queues (Assuming this was already covered). In this lecture, I will demonstrate the usefulness of interactive lectures through in-class activities that monitor student comprehension of the concept covered. I will also demonstrate how using real-life examples can support the students in the learning process.
At the end, I will present several challenges faced in teaching introductory classes to under-prepared students, going from changing their predispositions about computer science and programming to nurturing problem solving skills into them. Then I will briefly present ongoing research consisting in designing a pre-freshman summer program to prepare students for their first semester at CMU Qatar. In this program I am developing a Computational Thinking course for students majoring in Computer Science and Information Systems.
Dr. Houda Bouamor is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. She has more than two years of experience as a full-time instructor with specialty in teaching large-enrollment introductory courses to under-prepared students, as well as higher level electives. Dr. Bouamor is a graduate of Paris-Sud University, France and obtained an MSc in Computer Science at the Paris-Est Marne-La-Vallee University. Her research interest is natural language processing (NLP), where as a computer scientist, she uses her knowledge of algorithms, programming and analysis skills to deal with languages, their complexities and challenges.