I have been teaching undergraduate courses at the Department of Information Science at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf since 2005, first as a teaching assistant and since 2009 as visiting lecturer. Since my appointment at the University of Ottawa’s School of Information Science, I am teaching graduate courses on knowledge organization, research methods, social network analysis, information visualization and the publishing business. With each course I have and continue to grow as a teacher, improving and expanding my teaching methods based on interactions with and feedback from students.
I feel privileged to work in a field that excites me and provides me with an opportunity to disseminate and share knowledge. Given the passion for my work, I feel equally responsible and enthusiastic about passing on my knowledge to the next generation of information professionals, librarians and information science researchers, in order to give them the tools and skills to succeed in a diverse and ever more diversifying job market. Reciprocally, I am convinced that it is by engaging with students that my work remains innovative and grounded in the current context.
Whenever possible I like to involve students directly into ongoing research projects and current scholarly debates and confront them with genuine research problems. In my courses on research methods and social network analysis, I let students develop their own research questions. Determining and developing their own research projects increases motivation and the ability to remember and develop specific skills independently. I encouraged students to write their term papers according to the submission requirements of core information science conferences to introduce them to the standards of the international academic community. While conveying course contents, I also try to socialize my students as researchers introducing them to all parts of the scholarly communication process including reading and reviewing literature, formulating research questions, developing methodology, presenting and writing.
Although independent problem solving and hands-on training are at the core of my teaching, I combine a variety of methods in my courses to accommodate different learning styles and abilities. Students interact and engage in plenary and small group discussions, present their work individually or in groups, and demonstrate their acquired knowledge in term papers. Through the combination of these approaches, I let students apply theoretical knowledge of information science and provide them with the technical skills to analyze small and large datasets, an important skillset in the context of Big Data. More importantly, the methodological and technical skills I teach in my courses are transferable and equip students to work in a variety of sectors, which is key in a program that has the dual goal of training professionals and academics.