Courses

These are the courses taught until now. Additionally, I gave a summer school about Visual Analytics at Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colmbia, in 2011 (in English).
Course
 University
 Program
 Language
Information Visualization
 Kaiserslautern
 Master
 English
Foundations (Introduction) of Information Visualization and Visual Analytics
 Kaiserslautern
 Master
 English
Topics in Information Visualization and Visual Analytics
 Kaiserslautern
 Master
 English
 Algorithmische Geometrie
 Leipzig
 Bachelor
 German
 Informationsvisualisierung
 Leipzig
 Bachelor
 German
 Modellierung und Programmierung II
 Leipzig
 Bachelor
 German

Teaching Philosophy

Students remember studied material best, when they experienced advantages and disadvantages of methods and tools themselves. Especially, making mistakes enables them to understand potential problems. Trying to solve inadequately posed problems or vaguely presented questions provides them with valuable insights about how to tackle ill posed problems.

Therefore, my teaching focuses on a comprehensive education of the students: a mixture of lectures to gain knowledge about the field (e.g., information visualization), exercises to apply part of the learned material to small problems, practical courses to apply their knowledge in a larger context, and project and thesis work to complete the subject. Lectures should provide an overview over the field, lay the theoretical foundations (e.g., perception, design guidelines, and evaluation), and introduce methods (e.g., visualization of multi-dimensional data and interaction) and applications (e.g., Software Engineering or Biology). Especially in visualization, tasks and problems from the application area are the basis for research and projects. Exercises allow the students to familiarize themselves with the theory and to apply it to practical problems. They are mandatory to gain a deeper understanding of the methods and their advantages and disadvantages. The knowledge about these allows them to compare between different methods and to choose appropriate methods and tools for specific problem settings. This knowledge about advantages and disadvantages will then be complemented by practical courses: What are the problems when we implement the solutions proposed? What are bottlenecks in performance or in the interaction with the users? Finally, in seminars students learn to understand, to summarize, to assess, and to discuss state of the art research. Overall, the education allows the students to improve existing solutions and to develop new methods and tools.

The students are expected to actively participate in the lectures, exercises, practical courses, and seminars. Their questions are the driving force of improving comprehension of the material. This also implies that the lecturer is available for questions and willing to help. Therefore, I always encourage students to ask questions during lectures, exercises, and courses, to write emails with their questions, or to simply pass by my office for a discussion of the material. If they do not ask any questions, then I ask them either about the recent material to guarantee their understanding or I ask them open questions to make them think about the learned material.

Successful learning is thus the results of the interaction between students and teacher---the students’ and the teachers’ willingness to gain and to provide knowledge, respectively. The different learning styles (lectures, exercises, practical courses, and seminars) are complementary and together contribute to this success. Taking the time to answer the students’ questions and to discuss open problems with them is key to make knowledge available to them.