As part of a broader organisational restructure, data networking research at Swinburne University of Technology has moved from the Centre for Advanced Internet Architecture (CAIA) to the Internet For Things (I4T) Research Lab.

Although CAIA no longer exists, this website reflects CAIA's activities and outputs between March 2002 and February 2017, and is being maintained as a service to the broader data networking research community.

Dr. Jason But - Teaching Portfolio

Teaching Philosophy

I see learning as a procedure of forging paths of knowledge through the unknown to reach points of understanding. Everybody must forge there own path, and while many paths may run parallel to each other - indicating a common approach - everybodies path will be unique. I see the role of the teacher as being a guide to help students discover their own paths to develop their own learning. However learning must be performed by the learner, complex ideas cannot be taught by means of a simple transfer of information. The goal is to try to foster in the students a desire to expand their knowledge, and to then help then over the small hurdles they encounter while allowing them to cover easier ground on their own.

In order to do this successfully, teaching must be approached as a dialogue between student and teacher. Being open to students and being willing to explain concepts in a way such that they will better understand is a key attribute. Dialogue however goes both ways, and students can often help the teacher better understand their own concept of knowledge. As the material and concepts become more complex, this dialogue becomes a means for forging new knowledge for both student and teacher.

Everybody has different approaches to learning, and I cannot assume that all my students prefer to learn new material in the same way that I do. Many divide learning styles into four pairs of competing approaches (Active vs. Reflective, Sensing vs. Intuitive, Visual vs. Verbal and Global vs. Sequential). While recognizing that students may fall into any of these categories to varying degrees, the only category where there is little scope for variability is the Sensing/Intuitive style. Engineering is general is an intuitive profession and requires its practitioners to apply their knowledge in different ways to solve new and unique problems. As such, catering to sensing type students is encouraging behavior that is not beneficial to engineers in general.

I try to embody these ideals by creating lectures that are not just about transmission of information, but provide for the opportunity for students to forward ideas as well as integrate as much real-world engineering examples as is possible in a formal lecture scenario. With Telecommunications Engineering this is often possible as we can use the computer network to demonstrate the workings of Internet and other Telecommunications applications. Laboratories form a key part of engineering learning as the practical aspect of what Engineers learn is equally important to the theory. I try to structure the labs such that students can experience real-world scenarios within the limited scope of a short laboratory session.

Assessment is always difficult. It is easy to assess knowledge recall amongst students but this is often a poor way to determine whether students understand the underlying material. I try to structure assessment tasks that require students to apply their knowledge to solve problems rather than regurgitate knowledge. This type of assessment is best done as an assignment or project as it allows students the scope to think about the problem over a period of time and apply their ideas. Another key advantage is that - if the project is properly designed - then the assessment can simulate the type of skills required by students when they graduate and eventually become professional engineers.

Finally, while learning is an ongoing process for our students, this is also true when applied to myself. I must ensure that I continue to expand my knowledge, not only in the area in which I teach, but also in teaching itself. This can be done through traditional techniques through reading of appropriate literature, but on a more daily basis through discussion and sharing of experiences with my colleagues. By continually challenging myself and exploring how I approach teaching, this should reflect on how I perform in the classroom with my students.

Last Updated: Sunday 24-Aug-2008 23:22:04 AEST | Maintained by: Jason But ( | Authorised by: Grenville Armitage (