Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Teaching is a risk worth taking


Some of you know that I taught my first operational risk course at the University of Washington last spring.  Though I've taught informally by virtue of internship programs I set up over the years, I was not prepared for how very satisfying teaching a graduate level course would be. I am grateful to the Information School for the opportunity -- that's the home of the iSchool, Mary Gates Hall, in the photo montage above.  I learned a lot from that first class, and have been working these past weeks to put those lessons into practice for the upcoming winter quarter.

I'll be teaching two courses in winter quarter:  the "Information and Operational Risk" course that I taught last spring; and a required course for second year graduate students in the UW Information School, titled "Policy, Law and Ethics in Information Management."  I've been knee deep in creating the course websites for students, which is also the mechanism by which they turn in their work.  It's a new tool designed to make things easier, but it's not intuitive.  The risk mitigation on this effort is being performed by an Information School graduate assistant, who helped migrate the content from old sites, and provide backup support.

Each course will meet once a week for three hours at a time, late in the day.  Students may be coming from work or from other classes, perhaps tired and certainly hungry by the time class is over.  Needless to say, it's quite different from making a 45 minute public presentation and answering questions for 15 minutes.  I'm determined to make the courses a mix of lecture and group discussion, with portions of each class discussion facilitated by a member of the class.    The op risk class will include a star-spangled lineup of guest speakers on aspects of operational risk.

I'll still be publishing articles, but I'll not be traveling much from January through mid-March.  Public speaking engagements will be easy hops from Seattle, not across the country or the globe.

When you teach, you introduce ideas for analysis and discussion -- and, if you are lucky,  what you might get back is something you did not already know.   So I like how research and teaching feeds the consulting practice and vice versa.   Most of all, teaching keeps me on my toes, testing just what I know and what I think from multiple perspectives.

Teaching is a risk well worth taking.

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