Teaching Statement – Rae Earnshaw
My initial teaching assignments were to deliver courses on numerical analysis and systems analysis to undergraduate students in engineering. Computing facilities were not generally available at that time, so the numerical analysis course focussed on the algorithms that used numerical approximation for problems in mathematical analysis. As an undergraduate in physics I had taken a final year module on numerical computation and had found it very interesting and a strong motivating factor in moving into computer science for research and teaching.
Because of my research interests in computer graphics, I delivered a computer graphics module at undergraduate level, and also (in visiting positions in the USA between 1976 and 1985) at postgraduate level. I also delivered modules in software engineering and operating systems. Preparing the materials for these courses was very interesting and I benefited substantially from being loaned the lecture notes of academic staff who had previously delivered these modules. I found this principle of openness and sharing to be very beneficial and have endeavoured to operate this principle for the benefit of colleagues.
One very interesting experience that occurred while the computer science curriculum was being developed was the Head of Department giving lectures to staff on algebraic coding theory and logical design of digital circuits. This enabled us to think about course content and course design prior to actual formulation and delivery.
On moving from the University of Leeds to the University of Bradford in 1995 I had opportunity to develop the interdisciplinary side of courses in the area of digital media, as many of the modules combined elements of technology, art and design, and media and cultural context. I delivered a module on computer graphics concentrating on the creative aspects rather than the mathematical aspects.
Substantial experience in external examining in the UK and internationally has enabled me to benefit from best practice in other institutions. In 2001, the University of Bradford proposed me to the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for training as a Subject Reviewer. I completed the training and was then involved in a number of subject reviews in the UK and internationally. This has proved to be very valuable experience, so I continued the training with the QAA and was appointed an Institutional Auditor in 2002 and a Foundation Degree Reviewer in 2003 and have undertaken a number of reviews in these areas also.
I have had many opportunities to benefit from reflective practice in order to improve my teaching materials and mode of delivery. The ready availability of online learning environments has enabled the traditional lecture to be supplemented by online lecture notes and slides with links to further relevant material.
In my role as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Systems Development) at the University of Bradford, 2004-2009, we were able to develop the University’s electronic information and communications capability and infrastructure. The objective was to enhance student learning opportunities, and increase electronic delivery for students and staff.