I have been teaching 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 in 2017, I am teaching graduate courses on knowledge organization, research methods, social network analysis, information visualization and the information literacy. 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 goal of training librarians and information professionals. Over the past fifteen years I have continued to grow as a teacher, improving and expanding my teaching methods based on my interactions with and feedback from students.
I feel privileged to work in a field that excites me and provides me with an opportunity to share knowledge. Given the passion for my work, I feel equally responsible and enthusiastic about passing on my knowledge and skills to the next generation of information professionals and help students succeed in a diverse job market. Reciprocally, I am convinced that it is by engaging with students that my work remains innovative and grounded in the current context.
I believe that teaching is most effective when it actively engages students. This is why my teaching philosophy is based on active learning principles. I like to involve students in hands-on exercises and put great effort in finding examples that increase participation and motivation. Based on the Humboldtian model of higher education, I like to involve students directly into ongoing research projects and current scholarly debates. I let students develop their own research questions and group projects. I use a design-thinking approach (UX) to let students design their own knowledge organization system by developing personas, empathy and journey maps. Determining research questions and projects independently increases motivation and the ability to remember and develop project management and information literacy skills.
I encourage students to write their term papers according to the submission requirements of international LIS conferences and journals to introduce them to the standards of the academic community. While conveying course contents, I try to socialize my students as researchers introducing them to all parts of the scholarly communication process including reading, peer review, formulating research questions, developing methodology, presenting and writing. This strategy has proven successful, as students became truly engaged with their research projects and continued working on them beyond the classroom setting. Some of my students went on to publish their work in peer-reviewed journals or presented their results at international conferences.