Learning and Teaching Citation winner Dr Tuck Wah Leong on authentic learning experiences in IT

by | 22 May, 2017 | 0 comments

Dr Tuck Wah Leong is serious about helping his students to become industry-ready professionals. We chatted with him about student engagement, classroom tips, and more...
A portrait of Dr Tuck Wah Leong in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Dr Tuck Wah Leong.

Please tell us a little about what your citation was awarded for…

My citation was awarded for Facilitating authentic learning experiences for Interaction Design students with an emphasis on developing well-rounded IT professionals who can design useful, usable and thoughtful technologies. In other words, I used a range of authentic learning experiences in class and beyond to inspire and engage IT graduates to learn how to design technologies that are useful and usable for people.

What’s something new you are hoping to try or explore in learning and teaching in 2017?

I am hoping to explore more effective ways to involve industry practitioners in my weekly classes with an aim to helping my students to be industry-ready.

What’s one trick or tip you wish you’d known when you first started out in university teaching?

I wish I had known more about approaches to soliciting ongoing feedback from students (and ways to let them know that I have listened and responded), throughout the semester.

What’s your approach to keeping students active and engaged in a large group situation?

In large group activities, such as lectures, I walk and talk. I don’t stay still for long in one spot. I often stop and have a conversation with students, to ask them about their thoughts with regards to what I have been saying/teaching, and giving them my wireless microphone to respond. I always use concrete examples whenever possible when teaching abstract concepts.

What’s been your most memorable learning and teaching moment – as a teacher, or as a student?

When one of my students told me that my subject (and the Interaction Design major I helped design) gave her hope and helped changed her mind about dropping out of her IT degree (and university).

What’s the most challenging aspect of teaching in universities today?

For me, the most challenging aspect of teaching in universities today is the lack of time that I can spend, devising engaging activities and assessment to support my desires to be a more effective teacher. To be a great teacher may impact one’s capacity to be an equally good researcher.

Do you think teaching practices in your discipline area have changed a lot with the introduction of new technologies?

Of course, with new technologies, we have more ways to communicate with students, more ways to share learning materials with them, and so on. However, I think we have to be careful that technologies don’t get in the way of physical presence and direct engagement.

Feature image credit: Ilya Pavlov.

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