Seminars & Colloquia
Computer Science, NCSU
"A Living Fabric of Learning"
Thursday May 31, 2012 09:30 AM
Location: 3211, EBII NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)
Many students view their undergraduate education as an ordered sequence of courses they have to complete in order to be awarded credentials that enable them to find a job or continue their education. Most never understand, or even see, the richly connected system that is theirs to experience and nurture into a foundation for life-long learning. Published undergraduate curriculum guidelines and course sequences do little to cultivate this deeper understanding. Students are largely left on their own to discover why they have to take certain courses and how their classes relate to each other, particularly those courses outside their major. The result is often students that are dissatisfied with their educational experience and poorly prepared for the challenges of the world they are thrown into after graduation. There is an alternative, rooted in the student-teacher relationship. From the other side of the lectern, teachers can draw back the curtains and illuminate the interwoven connections between courses and disciplines. They can also become active and open participants in their students' learning experiences, seeking to discover new ideas and insights from their students instead of just dispensing their own knowledge one lecture at a time. Helping students see and understand this living fabric of learning can unleash creative and innovative thinking, get students excited about learning, and generate a deep desire to learn and grow beyond the confines of a particular field of study. This is the difference between an undergraduate education that passively transitions students from high school to the workforce, and an education that transforms the student into a creative contributor to society.
David Wright earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at North Carolina State University. His dissertation research focused on how to translate the thinking and reasoning patterns used by expert designers into simpler patterns and processes that novice software designers can use to begin thinking and behaving more like experts. Identifying these patterns and incorporating them into the computer science curriculum will better prepare future software system developers for the challenges of an increasingly computerized and software-dependent world. In addition to a variety of Teaching Assistant appointments and other teaching opportunities, David's experiences as a doctoral student involved several multi-disciplinary projects. As a Junior Fellow with the Land Grant University Research Ethics initiative and as a Walter Wilkinson Research Ethics Fellow, David contributed to expanding the awareness of ethical and responsible research conduct in Computer Science and Software Engineering. He also participated in the NCSU Preparing the Professoriate program and earned a Certificate of Accomplishment in Teaching (CoAT), both of which helped prepare him for a future academic career. His experiences in these programs led to working as a Research Assistant for the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and the NCSU Graduate School where he helped define and strengthen the pedagogical foundations of the CoAT program. Currently working as a Research Associate for the NCSU Computer Science Department, David is having fun learning to manage the day-to-day tasks supporting multiple research projects.
Host: Dennis Bahler, Computer Science, NCSU