July 13, 2018

Data Communications Networking course

As an assistant professor, one of my new tasks is to teach. Recently, I finished my first teaching sessions of a Bachelor course for second year students from Electrical Engineering. Specifically, I was tasked with teaching EE2T21 (Part B) – Data Communications Networking.

Data Communications Networking

Data Communications Networking is an introductory course to telecommunication networks. Telecommunication networks include local area networks, the Internet, and telephone networks. This is an obligatory course for second year Bachelor students following the Bachelor Electrical Engineering at the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science.

How I improved the course

When you are tasked to teach a course that is new to you, time is needed to familiarize yourself with both the contents and its past execution. This is even more so when it is at the peripherals of your expertise.

Part of my familiarizing with the course was to study all available material (book contents, lecture slides, learning objectives, and course evaluations). I concluded that I first had to improve the learning objectives by aligning them more with the content taught. Second, I felt that I had to improve upon the fact that the course had been taught in an encyclopedic way in the past: the students were in dire need of exercises.

Histogram of the final grades

As a teacher that made adjustments to the course, you are always curious to see the final effects of your improvements. The grade statistics of the final exam in particular can be quite indicative. So, here they are:

There were 136 students present at the exam. Out of these 136 students, 98 passed – so 72%! The mean grade was 6.23 on a scale of 0 – 10.

Honestly, I am very pleased with these results! The distribution of grades is also very appropriate. There are a few exceptional grades, the majority of students passed, and the exam was able to clearly distinguish students that should study harder. This was furthermore the first large, formal exam that I was responsible for, and it was a bit exciting to see the results of my work.

Histogram of grades (July 2018)