This narrative addresses topics directly associated with academia. See examples of my consulting work for images and discussion of non-academic work
Personally, I enjoy the intensity of the diverse teaching assignments.
It satisfies my eagerness for continuous opportunities to learn and improve
my teaching and professional skills.
Teaching is really about student learning. Teaching diverse topics provides the ideal opportunity to observe the diversity of learning strategies. I have learned to adapt the format of the instruction to accommodate course content, student experience and learning preference. I have experimented with various techniques in all of my courses. The breadth of teaching assignments has actually focused and structured my scholarship since I have conducted a scholarship program based largely on topics critical to undergraduate education as well as teaching and learning strategies.
I merged my involvement in computer applications and history with my interest in learning strategies by developing a new pedagogy for teaching landscape history. "Active Learning and the History of Landscape Architecture" included in this set of documents, describes the method and teaching products of my approach. In 1993, I created a series of interactive computer modules to teach a survey of the history of landscape architecture. I produced these because I was frustrated with the student's poor assimilation of concepts from texts and the traditional slide and lecture format. The computer allowed me to create sets of images, video and text which engaged the student in the learning process. I discovered that when I shifted my emphasis from the academic monologue to the feedback step, the learning was better and more enjoyable. The system provided increased contact time with students which was used for seminar discussions, workshops and other activities which address the upper levels of Bloom's taxonomy (1956). The first course of its kind at the University of Idaho, I have continued to expand and refine the landscape history course. The internet version of the course that I am preparing is discussed in the next section. My experience in the development of the tutorials and theory on which they are based resulted in articles in the Landscape Journal and Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture Proceedings. These products are discussed in the research section.
Similarly, experience teaching layout in construction studios led to a paper presented to the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture in 1991. The paper was expanded, refined and published as Layout Techniques for Landscape Architecture in 1995. I adopted an approach for the book that was especially respectful of the learner. I was interested in teaching the concepts and skills in a way which made learning enjoyable, rapid, self pacing and which resulted in long term retention. Hierarchies of complexity, reinforcement of knowledge gained, satisfaction of demonstrating newly acquired abilities, opportunities for self evaluation and immediate corrective feedback are learning concepts which are basic and almost universally ignored in landscape architecture design and technology texts.
An important contribution to my effectiveness as a professor has been my public and private sector experience. I found that employment with the Army Corps of Engineers, private firms and as a principal of my own firm to benefit and inspire my teaching. This experience adds credibility to the information I provide to students especially in the areas of construction technology, pedestrian scale design and recreation planning.
By personality, I am attracted to the studio method of instruction. I define myself as a tutor and facilitator, therefore, I'm especially effective in person to person learning interactions. I have focused on The Human Dialogue Project by Barbara Fox (1993) to refine my communication skills in the studio setting.