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Teaching

in this section

In This Section:

While there are many meanings for the word "teaching" at a university, this page concerns classroom teaching.  I have focused on undergraduate classroom teaching.  I usually describe this by saying that undergraduates are non-toxic to me and I'm non-toxic to undergraduates!

In all of these classroom situations, engaging the students is key to getting student participation which in turn is key to achieving student learning.  I try to stimulate engagement by, for instance, including topics describing the practical utility of the course material.  As an example, in EE301 at Purdue University, I discussed the theory behind oversampling CD players in the time period when CD players were a standard source for music. Any engaged student can watch me derive equations and solve problems in class and can even ask questions about the process.  However, that is primarily a spectator mode of participating and learning really requires an active mode. I believe that a key active mode is the working of problems, that is, the doing of homework. I try to help through office hours and evening problem sessions, but in the end I believe that the effort of working out problems for yourself is key to making the material your own. I like the analogy of watching the Purdue football linebackers bench press 400 pounds versus actually bench pressing 400 pounds!

My major teaching assignments at Purdue University were:

Year Fall course(s)
Spring course(s)
2005-06 ECE440 ECE440
2004-05 Sabbatical leave at MIT
Sabbatical leave at MIT
2003-04 ECE440 ECE440
2002-03 ECE402 ECE301
2001-02 ECE440 ECE301 and ECE301
2000-01 ECE440 ECE440
1999-00 ECE695D ECE440
1998-99 ECE440 ECE440
1997-98 ECE440 ECE440
1996-97 ECE201 ECE201 and ECE645
1995-96 ECE301 and ECE301
ECE440
1994-95 ECE301 ECE440
1993-94 ECE440 ECE201
1992-93 ECE301 ECE440
1991-92 ECE201 ECE440
1990-91 ECE201 ECE643

Brief descriptions of the courses are as follows:

  • ECE440 Transmission of Information: This is a senior-level course which covers both analog and digital communication systems at primarily the physical-layer level and which emphasizes the computation of SNRs in analog systems and bit error probabilities in digital systems. It makes extensive use of the prerequisites which are ECE301 Signals and Systems and ECE302 Probabilistic Methods in Electrical and Computer Engineering. I wrote class notes and some new laboratories.
  • ECE301 Signals and Systems: This is a junior-level course on deterministic signals and, primarily, linear systems which emphasizes transform methods (continuous-time Fourier, discrete-time Fourier, bilateral Laplace, and Z transforms) and examines a variety of applications especially sampling and noise-free analog communication systems.
  • ECE201 Linear Circuit Analysis I: This is a sophomore-level course on linear circuits including circuit elements such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, independent and dependent sources, and operational amplifiers; circuit laws, i.e., Kirchhoff's current and voltage laws; organized ways to write equations describing circuits, i.e., nodal and mesh methods; and the behavior of standard circuits such as RC and serial and parallel RLC circuits.
  • ECE402 EE Design Projects: This is a senior-level one-semester course in which teams of students design a project, which varies each semester, and it focuses both on process and on end result.
  • ECE643 Stochastic Processes in Information Systems: This is a second-level graduate course which concerns basic stochastic process ideas and applications to Markov chains and processes, point processes, etc.
  • ECE645 Estimation Theory: This is a second-level graduate course which concerns fundamental detection and estimation theory with communication and signal processing applications.
  • ECE695D Advanced Biomedical System Identification: This is a second-level graduate special topics course that concerned the theory of dynamical system identification and its application to biomedical problems.

My major teaching assignments at Cornell University were:

Year Fall course(s)
Spring course(s)
2013-14 Sabbatical leave
BME4020 and BME5010
2012-13 BME7310 BME7130
2011-12 BME7310 and ENGRG1050
ECE2200
2010-11
BME7310 ECE2200
2009-10 BME7310 and ENGRG1050
BME5010
2008-09 BME731 BME501
2007-08 BME731 and ENGRI150
ECE320
2006-07 BME731 NA

Brief descriptions of the courses are as follows:

  • BME731 BME7310 Advanced Biomedical Engineering Analysis of Biological Systems: A 3 credit entry graduate-level course which covers the fundamentals of quantitative analysis of biological systems especially with respect to to evolution over time and to uncertainty which is required of all BME Graduate Field Ph.D. students. It illustrates analytical methods applicable to a variety of biological systems, ranging from molecular to cellular to organ to application of whole-body systems.
  • BME7130 Core Concepts in Disease: A 3 credit Ph.D.-level course taught in collaboration with faculty at Weill Cornell Medical College and funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) which is required of all BME Graduate Field Ph.D. students. The goal is to describe disease mechanisms in preparation for the students’ clinical exposure in BME 7160 Immersion Experience in Medical Research and Clinical Practice usually taking during the summer following the first year of graduate school. Most diseases emerge due to a relative small number of biological effects, including mechanisms like infection, inflammation, neoplasia, genetic mutation, protein misfolding, and metabolic disregulation. Students learn about disease-state biology by focusing on these broad disease pathways. The course consists of several modules, each focused on one broad class of disease mechanism, and includes both a discussion of the underlying biology of the disease pathway as well as examples of specific diseases that involve those mechanisms. This course complements the training in fundamental normal-state biology students are already receiving by providing a mechanism-centered view of disease development.
  • BME501 BME50010 Bioengineering Seminar: A seminar focused on BME Masters of Engineering students with primarily speakers from industrial BME organizations.
  • ENGRI150 ENGRG1050 Engineering Seminar: A 1 credit course for entering freshmen engineers which is the mechanism by which the College of Engineering advises entering freshmen both with respect to career issues and with respect to the details of being a successful student at Cornell. The students are my advisees until they affiliate with a department sometime during their sophomore year.
  • BME4020 Electrical and Chemical Physiology: A 3 credit course listed at the 4000 level though it has no prerequisites and can be taken in any order with BME3010, BME3020, and BME4010.  Many undergraduate students taking the BME minor and many BME M.Eng. students take the course.
  • ECE320 Signals, Systems, and Networks: A 3 credit junior-level course seeking to integrate and extend students understanding of the analytical and computational tools used in the design and representation of complex networks and systems. Topics include state-space techniques, finite state machines, graph-theoretic approaches to network design and analysis, complexity, phase transitions in complex systems, and scalability.  The School was changing its curriculum and needed someone to teach the final offering of this course so I have never been able to repeat this material.
  • ECE2200 Signals and Systems: A 3 credit sophomore-level course in signals and linear systems.