Teaching a Freshman Seminar

As a freshman in college, I was lucky enough to get into David Harris's freshman seminar: Introduction to Digital Design. The class was a blast! Each session we would learn a new concept, like boolean logic, or sequential circuits during the lecture portion of the class. Immediately after, we had a lab portion of the class where we were asked to use this knowledge to implement a digital circuit using discrete logic gates on a breadboard. I had such a blast in this class that I decided I wanted to focus my studies on digital design.

During my Sophomore year, David Harris offered me the opportunity to be the main instructor for the class, and I was thrilled to take it. I would be responsible for writing and delivering the lecture each week and overseeing the lab portion of the class. Recalling the enthusiasm for digital design that this course wakened in me, I was determined to give my students a very memorable experience. Each week, I used the course text to create a brand new lecture. I then delivered a dry run of each lecture to either professor David Harris or Sarah Harris. They would always provide me with valuable feedback on my lectures, including how a topic could be presented more clearly, or how I could change the lecture to allow for more student participation during the lecture. I would also work to find mnemonic devices, analogies between the material and the real world, and other methods to help the students better ingest and better retain the course material.

From the end of semester evaluations, and the freshmen's performance on the seminar's final project, it appeared that I had succeeded in teaching a fun, memorable class for these students. I was also gratified to know that a few of my students followed me into the field of computer engineering. Also, even though preparing for and teaching the class took a ton of work, I can honestly say that teaching the seminar was as instrumental in waking my passion for teaching as taking the seminar was in waking my passion for digital design and computer architecture.

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