Lecturer: Road Traffic Safety (CIV E 616), Civil Engineering, the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada (Fall 2011 – present)
- This is a graduate level course intended to introduce the students to different topics in traffic safety. State-of-the-art statistical analysis and current research findings are presented throughout the course.
Lecturer: Highway Geometric Design (CIV E 719), Civil Engineering, the University of Alberta, Edmonton,AB, Canada (Winter 2015 – present)
- This course introduces graduate students to the field of highway geometric design while offering adeep insight into the basic principles of highway design. The course examines the components of the highway system, their interrelationships, their abilities and limitations, and their interrelation with the design elements.
Lecturer: Transportation Engineering (CIV E 315), Civil Engineering, the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada (Winter 2015 – present)
- This course introduces undergraduate students to the field of traffic engineering and highway design. The subject deals primarily with road transportation systems and the traffic analysis process. It focuses on basic traffic data collection and methodologies in traffic flow and Level of Service (LOS). The design of roads and highways including geometric design is also covered.
Lecturer: Transportation Engineering: Highway Planning and Design (CIV E 419), Civil Engineering, the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada (Winter 2012)
- This is a capstone transportation design course intended for senior undergraduate students. The overall objective of this course is to introduce senior undergraduate engineering students to the process of highway planning and design.
Invited Lecturer: Technical Communication (CIV E 240) – representing Transportation Group, Civil Engineering, the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada (Winter 2015)
- This is a 2nd-year course focused on improving written and oral communications in civil engineering. Lectures and practice on presentation of oral and written reports.
A strong commitment towards excellence in teaching is perhaps the most important role in any academic’s career. This implies a willingness to spend a lot of time and effort in developing and enhancing teaching methods and materials and a readiness to listen to students’ concerns and needs. It also requires expertise in the subject of the course combined with a renewed preparation of the material for each class meeting. Course structure must incorporate in-class activities, self-learning activities, and assistance and/or advice outside of the class. Self-learning activities are important tools in fostering students’ self-confidence and life-long learning skills. To create this commitment, I base my teaching philosophy on four pillars: participation, pragmatic links, communication and integrating research and teaching.
Student participation and interaction are essential ingredients of any learning activity, thus this constitutes my primary concern during the class. Through class activities, I plan on leading students to deduce the main concepts and methods and relate the various components of the subject. This requires getting the active participation and interaction of students. I achieve higher levels of class interaction through a careful selection of appropriate methods and techniques, such as case studies, interesting examples on current issues, use of computer simulations and graphics, etc.
Pragmatic links attempt to bring the “real world” into the classroom. In addition to learning concepts and theories, students must be exposed to the current practices and issues that dominate the environment beyond the lecture room. I achieve this by i) relating theories to actual examples from both local and international organizations; ii) inviting guest speakers from local industry to various classes to share their opinions, wisdom and expertise with the students; and iii) using case studies to support the concepts and theories discussed in class.
The dissemination of information in a classroom could only be achieved through effective communication. My main aim is to enable students to work with one another in group settings and to effectively communicate their ideas and concerns. To achieve this objective, I provide a stimulating and friendly environment that encourages students to ask questions, volunteer opinions and voice critical ideas. As an instructor, this requires me to be attentive to students’ needs and concerns, show them respect by accepting their ideas and opinions and attempt to provide them with convincing answers to their questions.
Teaching is enhanced and validated by research because it provides crucial feedback. Conducting research ensures that the knowledge I disseminate to my students is current, relevant and accurate. Therefore, I enhance my teaching by integrating it with other elements of my academic research.
I work with each student to create a long-term training plan, which is centred on each student’s career goals and will involve the development of course-work sequences to provide a comprehensive program to optimize the career potential of each individual student while building the necessary expertise and skill set to execute the ongoing research. My research and supervision philosophy has been designed to allow PhD candidates to supervise the training of the MSc students, who in turn would supervise the training of summer undergraduate students while I provide overall guidance and supervision. MSc and undergraduate students benefit from apprenticing with doctoral students by learning about the different fundamental research methods essential for conducting a major research project.
My training philosophy attempts to combine both student-professor conferences and student group meetings. The student-professor meeting includes a combination of informal and often spontaneous discussions with more structured and planned discussions, for example, to evaluate performance or to review manuscripts. I also hold a weekly progress meeting for the entire research group, which provides students not only with insight into the larger implications of their work and of the research field in general, but also with experience in project management and life-cycles. Students have the opportunity to improve their communication and presentation skills through participation in an annual symposium held by the transportation group as well as encouragement and support to submit presentation and paper proposals to conferences and journals. I also place significant emphasis on training in fundamental research methods by inviting experts to speak in class, offering research and writing workshops, and making a technical editor available to students for article and thesis writing support.
Students undertake major projects of their own designed to be suitable to their respective levels of expertise: undergraduates will produce final-year or summer projects based on topics assigned by myself; graduate students will produce conference presentations, reports, articles, and theses. I work alongside students in all of these contexts, providing them with models and examples early on and then meeting regularly with them in order to review progress and provide guidance. Whenever possible, I aim to maximize opportunities for student interaction and collaboration with researchers and practitioners. The training takes place under the auspices of the Centre for Smart Transportation, a new research group within the Department of Civil Engineering. My contact network facilitates extensive opportunities for students to gain concrete experience and to begin establishing professional networks that will continue beyond their training period.