Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2013

Faculty Award winner

Mostafa Bassiouni

 College of Engineering and Computer Science

 Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

I have a strong passion for teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in computer science and information technology. For undergraduate courses, I emphasize providing students with a good understanding of current techniques, improving their problem-solving capability, enhancing their basic computer skills, and preparing them to become part of the proficient IT workforce.

I strive to make the assessments in my courses frequent and ongoing throughout the semester. In undergraduate courses I typically give seven or eight quizzes, two written assignments, and three exams to keep students engaged in every module covered in class. I emphasize problem-solving questions for undergraduate student assessment, but I also use true/false, multiple-choice, and fill-in-the-blank questions.

I recognize that face-to-face office hours cannot alone give sufficient help to all students. I therefore encourage the students to communicate with me by e-mail, and I reply to students' e-mail as quickly as possible, often within a few hours and in detail. I have also held extra online help sessions for CNT 4403 (Network Security and Privacy) using the chat feature of Webcourses. The students generally respond to my teaching approach very favorably. Many have felt that the problem-solving assignments are one of the best learning mechanisms for understanding network protocols, and many have expressed their appreciation for receiving fast e-mail replies with detailed clarifications.

One of the most challenging aspects of teaching courses in computer networks and network security is the frequent need to update these courses to reflect the dramatic advances and breakthroughs in network technology. When I started developing the curricular materials for CNT 4403 in 2009, I realized that the information in network security textbooks is not always sufficient or up to date. I covered extra information to give students a better understanding of emerging security protocols as well as to expose them to new trends in combating malicious user behavior. I have also developed my own problem-solving questions for my supplemental materials and created a large bank of questions for online quizzes. All of my changes were well received by the students.

Specifically, they liked the fact that I presented topics by explaining them in a context of emerging research and development.