Monday, November 03, 2008

Back to Teaching

If you've been following my Plurk widget, you already know that I'm back at Ateneo de Davao University, this time as a part-time instructor. With the Computer Science division yet.

So yes, I'll admit it: I've been feeling a little bored lately. This is precisely the challenge that I was looking for, one that's got me fired up in a good way. And with several years' work experience under my belt, I'm approaching this with some sage confidence.

Everything moved at a pretty quick pace. Two weeks ago, I sent my resumés to the Computer Science division and the Humanities division. (I now have two resumés, one technical and the other literary.) Pretty soon I got a call from the Computer Science folks asking for other documents.

Last Wednesday, with just a day's notice, I did my teaching demo. Today, I had my first meeting with my class.

The course I'm teaching is IT288, officially known as "Information Security", but which I have dubbed "Defence Against the Dark Arts." This is a subject I'm familiar with, having done firewalls and a bit of security consulting for IBM and DEC. The main challenge is in the organization of the materials -- how to arrange it so that it's logical and interesting.

And then there's the added wrinkle of a lab. This is a 5 unit class; two hours lecture, and three hours laboratory per week. Laboratory exercises can be difficult to organize, and I'm flying into this with no guidance from the previous teacher. On the plus side, that does give me more leeway, and I've already told the class we'll be working with open source tools.

I have a pretty long laundry list already: virtual machines, vulnerability scanning, system hardening, intrusion detection, honeypots, log analysis, backup and restore, document management, firewall, virtual private networks.... I hope we cover all of it before the school year ends.

It seems I'm also introducing some teaching innovations, too (well, innovative to AdDU anyway). I've set up a Google group for the class to hold all the discussions, assignments, reading material, supplementary notes, etc. It seems that it's the first time they're using this approach. I'm pretty surprised as these guys are supposed to be IT. Anyway, they're young; they'll learn fast.

Because of the time requirements that I foresee for this class, I've decided to forgo teaching for the Humanities. I'll put my Masteral plans on hold, too; anyway, I'm more interested in access to the AdDU library more than anything else. All the rest is just icing.

As I said, I'm excited. I think it shows in how I'm writing this. Now let's see what the next five months brings.