I have been teaching since 2005 and enjoy it immensely. It has the right balance of challenge, exhilaration and reward that makes this my favourite past time. I am a faculty member at the University of Waterloo‘s Digital Media campus in Stratford teaching courses in UX and Design.
I also spent a few summers as the Lead Instructor for BrainStation’s UX course in Waterloo.
In my day job a the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre where I’m building a virtual incubator for entrepreneurs, I can practice what I teach. I think this makes me a better teacher and works for me.
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‘Thank you’ video from my GBDA 103 students from the fall term 2013
GBDA103: Intro to User Experience
Since fall 2013 I’ve been teaching this 1st-year undergrad UX intro course and it has become one of my favorites to teach.
Given that these students come straight from high school and that most of them haven’t heard of UX, my job is to make this class as interactive and engaging as possible. And of course – fin. It’s no secret that our brains work best when we are relaxed and feeling stimulated. I am a big proponent for having fun and a relaxed atmosphere in the classroom. There are no tests or exams. My courses are all about hands-on project work in multidisciplinary teams. Preferably projects sponsored by an external organization. I find this a much more effective way to apply theory and high-level concepts. And it’s much more enjoyable for all, including the teacher. Don’t kid yourself it’s still hard work.
The students have shown year after year that this method works and that it creates a more engaging learning environment. I stay out of the way as much as I can. Self-directed learning is the most powerful tool a teacher can share with her students. I start with the premise that they’re here to learn, that they’re smart. That they’re incredibly smart, driven and will achieve tremendous things in life. With this in mind, the rest comes naturally.
As an example, I use a Twitter hashtag for every class I teach. This provides an avenue for the more introverted students to participate in class discussions. The students from previous UX course are still using #gbdaUX to post relevant UX content and participate in an ever-increasing community.
DEI 626: User Experience and Research
I started teaching UX at the University of Waterloo in the fall of 2012. The university is known for its world-class engineering program and in that technology-driven context, user-centered design (UCD) and user experience are becoming increasingly important.
I am lucky that I work for an organization that actively supports UX and sees its tremendous value.
In fact, the people at the University of Waterloo, Stratford Campus where I teach, put great effort into promoting UX in various forms, from adding relevant courses to the curriculum to planning and hosting UX hackathons.
BrainStation Waterloo: User Experience
In the summer of 2015 I became the lead UX instructor at BrainStation Waterloo. It’s been an interesting experience teaching user experience to seasoned business professionals and entrepreneurs. The pace of the class is much different from my university courses and all students work on their own projects during the 12-week course. We cover topics such as:
- User Flows
- User Experience Mapping
- Storyboards and Wireframes
- User Interface (UI) design
- Web accessibility
- UX and emerging technologies
- Interactive Prototypes
- Usability Testing
DesignLab: Mentoring UX Students
The online learning platform DesignLab offers a variety of design-related courses, including foundation courses like Design 101, Branding, Typography as well as UX-related course such as, UX Research & Strategy, Interaction Design and the UX Academy. I signed up with them in the Spring of 2016 to mentor students taking the UX and Design courses. I love how the focus is very much on learning-by-doing and mentorship.