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Marcus Chang

Marcus Chang, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Hopkins interNetworking Research Group (HiNRG)
Johns Hopkins University
3400 North Charles Street, Shaffer 200D
Baltimore, MD 21218
 Teaching Statement
Teaching and advising students have always been an interest of mine and it has been my main reason for pursuing a career in academia. This interest stems from my appreciation for the interaction with the students but also because of my recognition of the great synergy between research-based education and student-driven research.
As a graduate student at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, I have served as both a Teaching Assistant on the Wireless Sensor Networks class in 2005 and was responsible for the sensor network part of the Introduction to Distributed Systems class in 2007. More recently, as a postdoctoral researcher at the Johns Hopkins University, I taught the Network Embedded Systems/Sensor Networks class in 2011.
In the future, I look forward to teaching courses similar to the Network Embedded Systems/Sensor Networks and more general Cyber-Physical System courses. In order to better reach out and capture the students' attention, I intend to include more social tools in my teaching, similar to the YouTube video of the semester project below. For instance, the school's online discussion board can be useful for sensitive information, but many students are not connected to the school's closed website as they are to, for example, Twitter and Facebook. (Full teaching statement PDF)
 Network Embedded Systems/Sensor Networks 2011
The purpose of the course was to give the students an insight into the embedded programming world in general and wireless sensor networks in particular. As wireless computational devices that interact with humans and the environment proliferate through our physical world, it has become extremely important to train students in the science and art of these cyber-physical systems. In order to explore the depth of embedded systems, the students obtained hands on experience with programming both powerful Android smartphones using the high-level Java language, but also extremely resource constrained microcontrollers using low-level nesC language (a C variant).
The course consisted of weekly lectures and seminars and a semester-long project. For the semester project, the students had to work in groups and implement the key components for a body sensor network, where a wireless sensor was used as a probe controlled by an Android application which also visualized the measurements. The purpose of this application was to exemplify different abstract concepts from the course while at the same time giving the students something tangible and fun to play with.
Having a coherent project where the students can easily take elements from the class, identify them with real-life problems, and subsequently have hands-on experience applying them is very important to me and something I believe will make the students more engaged because they can easier understand how even the more difficult topics can be useful.
According to the course evaluation, all the students found the course to be either good or excellent and gave the course and overall score of 4.67/5.0 which is well above the department mean of 3.99. Although time consuming, this being my first time in charge of a course, the teaching was deeply rewarding and I learned a lot from the experience. (Course evaluation in PDF)

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