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Top 10 Fav Subjects to Lecture in


[Top 10 united]
[Top 10 sayings]
[Top 10 no's]
[Top 10 yes's]


Networking/Distributed Systems
Well I teach this one anyway, and it's nice teaching a subject which is relevant to many students, no matter their course of study.


History of the PC
I find the history of the PC fascinating, as it involved real people who were as creative as any of the great artists of our time. The greats included Steve Job, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Clive Sinclair, Michael Dell, and so on. It's a shame how little technology students get to know about the history of their subject, as history can show us good example on how to make better decisions.


WWW page design
I do not currently teach WWW design, and its not related to my research, but I find it intreging, especially in the way that it is evolving. I would love to teach the actual principles about how the page was layed-out, and how to high-light key areas, and so on. I would not like to present the actual implement, such as HTML, Java, ASP, and so on. These could be used in practical sessions.


This relates to my research, and I really think that we're entering a new age, where the computer will disappear and will start to be embedded in things, and that computing will become mobile, where technologies such as wireless communcations will replace our existing copper wires. I'm currently investigating Blue Tooth technology, and hope to incorporate it into some of my lectures, next year.


Technical writing
I've learnt the whole process of writing, without anyone really teaching me. I remember at school it was all about stories, and comprehesion, but when you get into work you find its all about making clear presentation, and writing reports. I learnt everything that I know about grammar from Bill Gates; well actually it was the grammar checker in Word. It was here that it told me that I was using a boring passive verb, whereas I could simply swap round the sentence and make it much more interesting (using a passive verb, instead).


Making Technical Presentations
I've given a lot of technical presentations in my time, and I know how important it can be. Some lecturers, though, provide poor role models, and will stand-up and go into great detail of a subject, which actually hide the main principles being taught. The worst case of this is when a lecturer stands up and basically dictates to the students from their notes. This is a total waste of time. I'm a great believer in stating aims, using simple diagrams to show important principles.


Digital Audio and Video Principles
The whole audio and video industry is changing, from analogue to digital, but in many courses you would never know. I would love to lechure on the principles of MP-3 and MPEG compression, and then show various effects. Unfortunately to teach this properely would require a great investment in hi-fi and video equipment.


The Future?
Often we are constrained at looking at the future, with what we know now. We often struggle to think ahead more than 5 or 10 years. I would love to give a lecture on what might happen in 10, 20 and even 30 years in the future, and how it would build on our current technological information. To do this properly you've really got to forget about taking what we have now, and then making it faster or smaller, but to forget about what we have now, and think of the basic problem, and find better ways to solve it.


Timed Practicals
Timed practicals are the most difficult assessment that you can ever do, but they are character building, and are often one of the best techniques for testing real skills (such as design, fault finding, and so on). One practical would be to totally build a WAN from a number of components (bridges, hubs, routers, switches, and so on), cables, computers, and so on. There would be no standard implementation and the students could implement it however they wanted. Scary! There's nothing better than seeing a group working together as a team, and thinking logically.


Creativity in computing. It's amazing for a practical subject such as Computing that creativity is not part of the syllubus, especially in how to integrate technology with artist design. When was the last time a lecturer asked you to design a WWW page that caused the user to stay for more than a certain time?


History of the Internet
While this is not quite as exciting as the history of the PC, it is important to identify the key descisions that were made on the development of one of the most important creations in history: The Internet. In 20 or 30 years time people will look back and think how quaint or little Internet was, and they'll he able to see how WWW pages changed, and how new applications have been added to the Internent, and so on, and so on.