Withrow Award for Teaching Excellence

Just a short note with characteristic inhumility (ahumility? abhumility?) -- for my Concepts in Database-Backed Web Programming course, I received the Withrow Award for Teaching Excellence from the students.

This means a lot to me, because I spent a huge amount of time on that course (and will have to do so again next fall!) I trace the students' relative happiness with my course to a few particular issues:

  • I gave almost everyone an A or a B. This will change next year ;)

  • I was as close to "five nines" available as I could be: e-mail, office hours, etc. Next year, twitter?

  • I did my best to make the lectures entertaining and informative. (Anyone who watched me publicly insult Django's test framework at PyCon just for the hell of it knows what I mean by "entertaining".)

    I'm particularly proud of my repeated references to "evil Chinese hackers" -- next year, it will be "evil Canadian hackers", however. Sorry, Greg.)

Continuing the inhumility, I will also mention that the Dean of Engineering said that he'd never had a student come to compliment him on a professor's teaching before -- normally they just want to bitch.

No matter how nice it is to have the students like my teaching, though, I definitely have a lot of work to do on the class; I rather failed to teach proper programming practice, looking at some recent student work. Sigh. Fall, here I come!

On a separate note, Ryan Wagoner posted about the MSU CS program. I am trying to address at least two of the four problems at the end...


p.s. Re Django, that was all Jesse Noller's fault. He made me do it -- remote control via Twitter.

p.p.s. Django's test framework is, in fact, mildly fscked. I haven't yet figured out if it's for a good reason or not -- that's another post ;)

Legacy Comments

Posted by Istvan Albert on 2009-04-02 at 10:56.

Congratulations.    Teaching a course like this is a major undertaking
and probably took an immense amount of work. It is really nice to see
that it has made a difference.    Congratulations again.

Posted by Jason on 2009-04-02 at 10:59.

Congrats Titus! Great to see that your enthusiasm and application
practical tools was so well received.

Posted by pam on 2009-04-02 at 16:12.

I'm telling you, Facebook. Possibly even MySpace. Think of all the
vitriol you'll get to spew forth!

Posted by Andrew Perry on 2009-04-02 at 18:43.

Congratulations. It's great to see those who put some real effort into
course development and teaching recognized.

Posted by Steve Holden on 2009-04-04 at 16:09.

Congratulations, Titus! I am not surprised, since your enthusiasm is
so evident in your work for and with the Python community. As a
teacher myself I always value positive student feedback the most: as
our victims the students are best able to assess whether our work has
a positive effect on them. So well done, and keep up the good work.

Posted by Paul Hildebrandt on 2009-04-07 at 14:55.

Congratulations!  It's a job well done.  Anyone that knows you would
assume that you would do a good job inspiring and directing those
seeking knowledge.  It's nice to see that confirmed by the very people
you are trying to effect.

Posted by Charles R. McCreary on 2009-04-11 at 16:39.

Well done. I don't know how you do it, do your days have 36 hours?

Posted by Charles R. McCreary on 2009-04-11 at 16:49.

Well done. I don't know how you do it, do your days have 36 hours?

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