Teaching is one of my passions; I consider this a requirement of any university professor. Via teaching, I grow stronger in my understanding of the field. Teaching courses has provided me with deeper insight into visualization, and has generated new directions for my research. In turn, I bring my research results back into the classroom where they are disseminated and refined. This tie between teaching and research is a theme in most of my classes; several projects from courses I have taught have either been presented at international conferences or published as journal papers.
Since coming to Mississippi State in August of 2003, I have worked with the other new visualization/graphics faculty to reestablish a computer graphics and visualization curriculum within Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). In Fall 2003, I started with a fresh set of topics for the Principles of Computer Graphics course (CSE4/6413); I followed with introducing a new course in Information Visualization (CSE8990) in Spring of 2004. In Fall of 2005, I reintroduced the Scientific Visualization course (CSE8413), followed by State’s first Illustrative Rendering and Visual Analytics courses (CSE4/6990) in 2007 and 2009. My largest impact has been, with J. Edward Swan II, the introduction of CSE’s Game Design course in 2008; every Spring since, students have pushed the envelope and demonstrated their efforts at our annual Game Demo Night. I also chaired the effort to redesign our introductory course sequence, requiring an overhaul to the beginning of our curriculum. This modernization was necessary to address current trends in industry and to foster an environment conductive to learning and student retention.
I strongly feel that “doing” is essential to learning any skill; theoretical fundamentals are needed to ground this practice. Thus, my courses focus on both principles and practice. For undergraduate courses, programming assignments—the “doing” element—are not considered done until students complete the requirements 100%. Thus, a student cannot turn in partial work and expect it to pass—only a working program demonstrates the gained skill. For the fundamentals of a course, students must write on-line, collaborative notes summarizing a topic; this forces a student to synthesize the material in order to gain a firm grasp of the concept. These two methods, combined with collaboration via online message boards, have created a successful learning environment: My teaching evaluations have a composite median value of 4.52/5.00 during my tenure here, significantly above the department and college’s values.
As demonstrated above, I am not content with “good enough” in my teaching. I am always keeping an eye out for how to improve courses, and I am willing to try new methods. Each offering of my courses has been different, and I incorporate elements from professional development activities in which I participate, including the prestigious ASEE National Teaching Effectiveness Institute. These efforts have paid off: In 2008, I was inducted into the Bagley College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Teachers, its highest award in teaching. In 2010, I was also inducted into our university’s Honors faculty, another invitation-only recognition.
Educating my students is only part of my program. I cannot stress enough my belief that my research area—visualization—can play a large role in many disciplines. The human visual channel can be used in many fields to quickly present and understand data. Towards that end, I make it a point to foster cross discipline collaboration in my courses and to perform outreach education to other classes. I have performed several “visualization lecture units” in different courses, including several lectures in Computer Security visualization and a lecture in Power Engineering visualization. I plan on continuing this outreach, with the goal of reaching at least one “outside” course every semester.
32 courses taught since 2001.
- CSE1284 Honors Introduction to Computer Programming, Mississippi State University
- CSE1384 Honors Intermediate Computer Programming, Mississippi State University
- CSE3813 Formal Languages, Mississippi State University
- CSE4/6413 Principles of Computer Graphics, Mississippi State University
- CSE4/6453 Game Design (co-designer with J. Edward Swan II), Mississippi State University
- CSE4/6990 Illustrative and Non-Photorealistic Rendering, Mississippi State University
- CSE4/6990 Digital Visual Communication and Analysis, Mississippi State University
- CSE4/6990 Web-based Graphics and Visualization, Mississippi State University
- CSE8413 Visualization, Mississippi State University
- CSE8990 Information Visualization, Mississippi State University
- CSE8990 Display Technology, Mississippi State University
- ECS40 Introduction to Software Development and Object-Oriented Programming, University of California, Davis
- ECS120 Introduction to the Theory of Computation, University of California, Davis
- Short courses on Introduction to Python
Directed theses, projects, & student mentor
Committee Member on 16 graduate committees past and present; advisor to 13 undergraduates past and present.
- 2008 Chad Steed, PhD Computer Science. Dissertation Title: “Development of a Geovisual Analytics Environment to Conduct North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Trend Analysis” (Co-Advised with J. Edward Swan II)
- 2016 Donald W. Johnson, PhD Computer Science. Dissertation Title: “Computational Flood Modeling and Visual Analysis”
Graduate Major Professor
- 2006 Ketan Mehta, MS Computer Science. Thesis: “NLCVIZ: Tensor Visualization and Defect Detection”
- 2008 Miao Liu, MS Computer Engineering.
- 2008 David Wilson, MS Computer Science.
- 2009 Yagneshwara Somayajulu Lanka, MS Computer Science.
- 2010 Andrew S. Stamps, MS Computer Science.
- 2012 Christopher Lewis, MS Computer Science.
- 2012 Peter L. Curtis, MS Computer Science.
- 2013 Marlon Taylor, MS Computer Science.
Undergraduate Research Advisor
- 2006 Johnathan Howell, BS Computer Science 2006. Project Title: “CluVis: Dual-domain Visual Exploration of Cluster/Network Metadata”
- 2007–2009 Andrew Lindeman, BS Computer Science 2009. Project Title: “Effective Display of Conserved Domains on a Multiple Sequence Alignment” (with Susan Bridges)
- 2010–2011 Matilda Asuzu, BS in Communication 2011. Project Title: “CDC Wonder Mortality File Visualization”
- 2009, 2011 Marlon Taylor, BS in Computer Science 2011. Project Title: “Student Retention Visualization”
- 2011–2014 Christian Hall, BS in Software Engineering. Project Title: “Kill the Rainbow”. Winner: 3rd Place, Shackouls Honors College Summer Research Poster Program
- 2012–2014 Swapnik Shah, BS in Computer Science. Project Title: “Protein Bioinformatics”.
- 2014–Morgan Sweeney, BS in Computer Science. Project Title: “Protein Bioinformatics”.
- 2014–Andrew LaFrance, BS in Computer Science. Project Title: “Alert Visualization”.
Undergraduate Student Program Mentor
- 2014 Damon Jones, BS in Computer Science, Jackson State University. NSF EPSCoR Research Experience for Undergraduates
- 2013 Audey Musselman-Brown, BS in Computer Science, Harvey Mudd College. NSF EPSCoR Research Experience for Undergraduates
- 2012 Jessey R. Farek, BS in Computer Science, St. Edwards University. NSF EPSCoR Research Experience for Undergraduates
- 2011 Juan Castillo, BS in Computer Science, CUNY: Staten Island. NSF EPSCoR Research Experience for Undergraduates
- 2007 Andrew Lindeman, BS in Computer Science 2009, Mississippi State University. NSF EPSCoR Research Experience for Undergraduates
High School Research Advisor
- 2008 Haoran Li, Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science 2009. Project Title: “Web-based Visualization with Processing”