FH JOANNEUM Kapfenberg

A summer as a teacher from Michigan (USA) at the FH JOANNEUM in Kapfenberg

Jasmin Koller ,

Roger Ferguson, replaced the Michigan classroom for a summer in Kapfenberg at the Institute of Internet Technologies & Applications.

Why do you teach in the summer semester at FH JOANNEUM in Kapfenberg?

A faculty exchange program was established between Grand Valley State University in the US with FH JOANNEUM in Kapfenberg in 2014. This exchange program gave me the opportunity to do something that I always wanted to do; that is, teach computer science in a different country. The main reason to teach abroad, was to learn the different pedagogical approaches taken at institutions that are outside the US.

What do you teach at the FH JOANNEUM?

I taught one course (i.e., Software development II) to two different groups, that is, the full time and part time students. For the full times students, Elmar Krainz’s course was my main course that I was responsible for. I was also a guest lecturer in Gerhard Seuchter’s course as well, where I taught some current JAVA techniques. Finally, I helped with Student theses, specifically the English component for Petra Kletzenbauer’s courses.

Is the teaching very different from teaching in Michigan?

There are a few minor differences. The first difference was the scheduling of classes. In the US, most classes are on a specific schedule, such as, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 – 10 every week. As compared to Kapfenberg, where courses met at different times though out the time I was here. Every week was different. The second minor difference was, courses at Kapfenberg are mostly “hands on” courses, with more lab time as compared to my courses in the US.

How do you like the campus in Kapfenberg?

I like the campus at Kapfenberg; however, it is the students at Kapfenberg that has made my stay here so special. The students (I interacted with the full time students the most) has been warm and welcoming. Perhaps the most important item to note, was the student’s ability to speak proper English. That specific attribute made my time here much easier.

What have you seen of Austria so far?

I made a trip to Vienna and to Salzburg, for 3 days at each place. I must admit, I really liked Vienna, the architecture of the old district was amazing; learning the history and art of Vienna was the highlight of the trip.

What would you describe as typically Austrian?

Every person I met in Austria has been warm and welcoming. Particularly when I was trying to speak German, the typical Austrian really tried to help. (In my case, even though I took a German class in the US before coming here, I found myself struggling to speak and understand the German that is spoken here.)

Would you recommend such an experience?

I fully and completely recommend an experience such as this. This experience has (1) broaden my thought process as it relates to visitors from a different country and the challenges they face, and (2) has made me a better teacher because I learn how other institutions that are outside the US do the art of teaching.