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TU Berlin

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Teaching

  1. Academic Teaching

 

Sep. 2002 – Sep. 2005                Student tutor, project laboratory of physics

 

Oct. 2006 – March 2010              Supervision of the advanced student laboratory in
                                                 physics

 

Apr. 2006  – Sep. 2008               4 semesters lectures of thermodynamics


Oct. 2007 – March 2012             Supervision of the seminar for optics and photonics

 

Apr. 2011 – March.2014             Supervision of the student lab internship in chemistry: Physical chemistry

                                                and kinetics and spectroscopy

 

Apr. 2011 – March 2016            Head of the tutorials in mathematics for chemists

 

Sep. 2015 – March 2016           2 semesters lectures of mathematics for chemists

 

Sep. 2013 –  now                     Head of the research based online- projectlaboratory chemistry

 

Sep. 2016 –  now                     Supervisor of the student research project “iGEM”

 

 

  1. Supervised Theses

 

Finished Bachelor theses:

 

“Zeitaufgelöste Fluoreszenzspektroskopie von Energie- und Elektronentransfer in photosynthetischen Komplexen von Pflanzen“

„Dynamik der Ladungstrennung im Photosystem II in Abhängigkeit von der Lichtsstärke”


”Far-red light acclimation of the Chlorophyll f-producing cyanobacterium Halomicronema hongdechloris”

“Tracking von lebenden Zellen und Zellkompartimenten durch Multiparameter Fluoreszenzmikroskopie”

 

Finished Master theses:

“Untersuchung der Anregungsdynamik von iRFP bei verschiedenen Temperaturen”

 

Finished Diploma theses:

 

“Fluoreszenzspektroskopie zur Photoinhibition von photosynthetischen Organismen”

 

“Fluoreszenzspektroskopische Untersuchung mit hoher Zeitauflösung zur Anregungszustandsdynamik bei photosynthetischen Organismen”

 

"Zeitaufgelöste Fluoreszenzspektroskopie von Energie- und Elektronentransfer in photosynthetischen Komplexen von Pflanzen"

 

“Rasterkraftmikroskopie und Fluoreszenzspektroskopie zur nichtinvasiven und hochaufgelösten Untersuchung von Nanostrukturen”

 

„Dynamik schaltbarer Fluoreszenz-Farbstoffe an lebenden Zellen“

 

“Mikroskopische Visualisierung von Gold-Nanopartikeln für die Medizin”

 

„Spektroskopie an Pigment-Protein-Komplexen bei verschiedenen Temperaturen“

 

„Fluoreszenz organischer Moleküle an Oberflächen“

 

„Optische Fluoreszenzspektroskopie und Theorie gekoppelter Pigmente in photosynthetischen Proteinkomplexen“

 

„Photon emission of nanostructures: investigation on the switching behavior of the protein rsTagRFP”

 

“Zeitlich korrelierte Einzelphotonenspektroskopie an biologischen Pigment-Protein-Komplexen”

 

„Temperaturabhängige Anti-Stokes-Fluoreszenzmessungen an rotlichtadaptierten H. hongdechloris zum Nachweis des entropiegetriebenen Energietransfer zwischen Chlorophyll f und Chlorophyll a“ (Abgabe noch offen)

 

 

PhD:

 

“Eigenschaften von Molekülen im Kontakt zu Oberflächen” (offen)

 

“Structural characterization of model melanoidin” (erste Version abgegeben, Aussprache folgt)

Further Teaching portfolio

 

·         Inorganic Chemistry

·         Experimental Physics

·         Theoretical Physics

·         Quantum Chemistry

 

 

I. Teaching Philosophy


Teaching needs to induce transformations. Surprise during the learning process, the satisfaction of understanding, trust in one's competences and a visible outcome. These are the driving forces for learning. It is satisfying to manage challenges, conduct own research with competence and/or develop prototypes based on own skills.

Academicians are trained experts in research, but good teaching skills are less honored. In that sense the experience of a good education is often limited to those who are able to learn on their own. While researchers are generally ambitious and aware of their responsibility such engagement is often lower when teaching. Teaching at the university level is a key factor for future wealth of the society, to ensure future competence in handling the global challenges and to introduce transformations.

The critical societal challenges of the 21st century are based on technical and societal solutions for climate change, the energy crisis, ecological and economic challenges and democracy. Education is the key to enable humanity to achieve these challenges successfully. People who understand these challenges and feel able to contribute to their solution are the educated and we need more of them. 

The absorption of facts and theories is a necessary foundation for professional life. But the crucial dividing line between trained and the truly educated lies in an increased ability to judge and to act. Therefore, research based learning (RBL) is an important part of education as it activates key competences which are needed to solve real problems. Wisdom grows through personal experience. Today learning extends across time and space. Students carry their learning beyond the lecture-hall or seminar room. Indeed, probably the dominant basis of learning is student-to-student rather than between student and professor. Therefore, student centered education and RBL enriched with digital elements, which allow students to follow their projects via the digital tools they use anyway, are key factors for maintaining motivation beyond temporal and spatial fixation on the lecture (however real personal interaction in the classroom must not be substituted by digital teaching, that´s something totally different!). Projects in RBL enriched with digital tools must be developed by the students themselves, because the most important task for the student is to assume personal responsibility for the quality of his or her experience. In that sense the professor can learn from the students: learn where students are lacking experience, phantasy or logical completeness to follow the teaching matter – and help them to overcome these obstacles [1-5].

The ideal curricula offer elements of student centered RBL as part of the basic teaching program covering mathematics, physics and chemistry to keep an opportunity for engaged minds to develop in the right direction. In that sense the most important tasks for the teacher are to pose problems, and to inspire students onward in the discovery process.

 

II. Teaching Responsibilities

Teaching responsibilities fall into different categories which are quite different and often teacher’s motivation is also different for the certain categories.

Classroom Teaching. Classroom Teaching is the most general, most often thought as teaching experience. In front of a group of 200 students I lecture basic topics such as mathematics for chemists. In fact, this is the most simple way of teaching. It is important to have motivating lectures. In good teaching the lecturer is a performer who encourages the auditorium to follow his ideas, to take over his motivations, to accept his demands and to support his students absorb the new knowledge. In so doing, the students feel respected and engage in the class, which demonstrates that they are following the course material.

Supervision of practical courses. The supervision of practical lab work as a supervisor or a mentor rather than a teacher is different from classroom teaching and, if it is well done, more challenging. Building trust and conveying competence are the most important aspects of a good internship training. It is necessary to understand the ideas of the students much more often than in a good lecture. In particular, supervision of RBL demands a high competence of the teachers to learn from the student’s ideas. The better the internship, the more difficult the grading of the students in the laboratories.

Preparation of teaching materials. A good teacher inspires his students with brilliant teaching materials. This is especially true of RBL where teaching materials are needed on demand. The teacher must be able to develop a presentation based on a new topic and the students are encouraged to do the same from their side. In the framework of IGT-educationTUB, we produced online pre-examinations that involve the teaching videos for several courses like mathematics for chemists, practical courses in physical chemistry, spectroscopy and electrochemistry, synthetic biology and (within collaborations) even in organic chemistry and microeconomics. The online pre-examinations contain online tests (in form of alternative multiple choice tests) to check that the students have watched the offered videos, and are therefore prepared for the teaching matter. Up to now in my projects more than 200 teaching videos have been developed which are available via my YouTube channel “educationzen Praktika” [6].

Supervision of Bachelor-, Master- and Ph.D. candidates. During my time as a research assistant at TU Berlin I have supervised 14 diploma and master theses, 2 PhD candidates and 5 Bachelor theses. Following the concept of RBL the thesis, regardless of educational level, is a research project of the student. While Bachelor- and Master theses need greater support the PhD projects are often like discussions between colleagues where my role as a teacher is: organizing the regular meetings and providing feedback on presentations and progress reports, and encouraging and helping with writing papers. My PhD students are first authors of their manuscripts. If the work is published in a journal, I am the co-author and the professor the last (corresponding) author. (in many cases Thomas Friedrich).

Teaching about teaching. I often take opportunities to teach and report about my teaching, in conferences, seminars and workshops and journals. Teaching own experiences helps to improve the own teaching and successfully initiates precious discussions about the own teaching.

 

III. Structured Research Based Learning (RBL)

In the field of STEM studies (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) (in German: MINT (mathematics, informatics, nature sciences and technics)) students drop out from university early during their studies, if the demands of the different graduation courses are underestimated. The Bachelor of Chemistry at Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) is actually facing a 50 % drop out ratio. We infer that many students lack motivation in that initial stage of their studies, as their timetables are filled with mandatory subjects. In chemistry a large number of internships with clearly defined experiments have to be executed in short time spans.

Therefore, it seemed reasonable to introduce orientation studies that help students to identify their personal interests and skills before choosing a defined graduation course. Orientation studies can reduce the number of drop out students and better provide a motivating and interactive start of the studies.  TU Berlin offers a special orientation program of two semesters (one year) called MINTgrün. The target group of MINTgrün are young students of any interest who have just left school. These students get an overview on the large number of STEM bachelor courses and the basic demands in the corresponding subjects.

 

Orientation is one aspect of finding the right place in a large variety of possibilities. Another important aspect is the right motivation by interactive involvement of young students during lecture times and practical courses. The structures of some courses present a stringent sequence of frontal lectures in large groups with few possibilities for interaction. Therefore, there is a lack of student-centered learning environments offering interactive laboratories. MINTgrün  overcomes this problem by allowing students to choose freely one specially designed laboratory covering topics such as robotics, construction, environmental research, programming, mathematics, chemistry, hydrodynamics or gender studies. In the laboratories the students formulate their own research question which is often related to actual research topics in ecology, sustainability, or refers to social or intercultural debates of high societal interest [4,5,7].

 

IV. Evaluations

Each of my courses is evaluated each year in a formative evaluation. The results of the evaluation and possible consequences are discussed with the students. Especially in the Online Laboratory for Chemistry (OPLChem) the evaluation is generally done at the beginning of the 2nd half of the semester. Afterwards the evaluation is discussed with the students and actions for improvement are planned on the basis of the results. Additional interviews with the students showed that especially the groups who had experience with RBL during their school time were quick in finding project ideas or even wanted to proceed with their former school projects. Other students judged their interest to be strongly growing during the time of the OPLChem studies.

 

1.      F.-J. Schmitt, T. Schönnemann, F. Kruse, F. Egbers, S. Delitzscher, J. Weissenborn, A. Aljanazrah, T. Friedrich, Targeted Inversion of the Tutorials in “Mathematics for Chemists”, A Case Study, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2015/4, 191-200 (2015)

2.      F.-J. Schmitt, F. Kruse, F. Egbers, S. Delitzscher, T. Schönnemann, B. Theis, S. Wilkening, M. Moldenhauer, R. Wiehe, M. Willoweit, C. Keuer, A. Aljanazrah, T. Friedrich, Effectiveness of Using Interactive Targeted Inverted (IGT)–Education on Students’ Learning at the Technische Universität Berlin, Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, 2146-2153 (2017)

3.     A. Aljanazrah, F.-J. Schmitt, T.Friedrich, Evaluation of the use of flipped classroom based tutorials in “mathematics for chemists” course from students`perspective, Research Highlights in Education and Science 150 (2017)

4.     F.-J. Schmitt, C. Schröder, Z.Y. Campbell, M. Moldenhauer, T. Friedrich, Student Centred Teaching in Laboratories Supported by Online Components in the
Orientation Program MINTgruen, Proceedings of the 19th. Annual International Conference on Education, 15-18 May 2017, Athens, Greece, Athens, Greece, https://www.atiner.gr/papers/EDU2017-2347.pdf  (Stand: 24.12.2018)

5.     F.-J. Schmitt, C. Schröder, Z.Y. Campbell, S. Wilkening, M. Moldenhauer, T. Friedrich, Self-dependent students in transdisciplinary projects tend to higher interest in sustainability research, Education Excellence for Sustainable Development, SEFI Annual Conference 2017, 25-32, https://www.sefi.be/wp-content/uploads/SEFI_2017_PROCEEDINGS.pdf  (Stand: 24.12.2018)

6.      https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYSYq0FIzCfs06wQx7MTlsw/playlists

7.      http://oplchem.wordpress.com 

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