The LSST Computing Student who became a LSST Computing Lecturer
By Kunal Chan Mehta, Senior Lecturer and Public Relations OfficerPhoto Source: LSST
Hussain Al-Fatlawi, a former LSST computing student, relished his LSST course and experience so much that he decided to ‘give back’ and become an LSST computing lecturer. LSST interviews Hussain to find out more about his remarkable journey from student to lecturer.
1. How did you find out about LSST?
I came to know about LSST after having the dilemma where I was working many hours but wanted a flexible mode of study. I did consider studying at other institutions but a friend then recommended LSST which I found very accommodating to my work schedule. I was accepted and settled in almost immediately.
2. What did you study at LSST?
I started studying HND Computing Systems Development for 2 years and then went on to study the BSc (Top Up) in Computing and Information Systems accredited by the University of West London. I found myself fortunate to be one of the first students to take part in the partnership Top Up and the timing was to my advantage. I went on to complete this course achieving a 1:1 and attending my LSST-UWL graduation at Wembley National Stadium which was a splendid setting for the occasion.
3. How did you become a lecturer at LSST?
After finishing I took time off then worked for other employers until a vacancy came up at LSST and the details were passed to me. I found that the job description suited my personality and that I would be able to make a difference because of my knowledge, experience and skills which I developed during my student years at LSST. I went forward with the application and was delighted in being offered the role. I knew it would be my way of ‘giving back’.
4. How does it feel to work alongside your LSST lecturers that once taught you?
Working alongside those who once taught me is peculiar, in a good sense! I feel like I’m the new generation of academic professionals. The professional environment is very healthy as it collates the skills and experiences from a diverse workforce and I am able to contribute to them the perspective of a former student also. I continue to learn every day from those around me and still pester my former lecturers for more insight as I did as a student.
5. What advice do you have for your students based on your experiences at LSST?
My advice to LSST students is somewhat different to what most would deliver and comes from my experiences at LSST. Firstly, they should seek assistance as and when they need it through the use of Academic support Services. Secondly, they should interact and be a part of the class as much as possible. Thirdly, it is wise to teach others (anybody) what you have learnt as you will benefit by strengthening your education (this helps you remember the content during exams). Lastly and most importantly, the coursework should be attempted throughout the semester while learning its related content. Students will then be able to seek assistance from the lecturer sooner than most, in turn, increasing the chance of getting the desired help.
6. How do you identify student strengths and weaknesses?
Any student of mine will attest to my questioning during lecture and tutorial sessions. I use the computing testing methodology of “Dynamic Testing” where I question and test the knowledge of my students persistently. Doing this allows me to identify those who shy away in the background from those who are really learning and developing, I also take time during the sessions to ensure all students are on the same page and I encourage them to ask questions at any point. Where weaknesses are identified, extra time is spent on the actual topic in question.
7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years’ time, I should perhaps find myself working alongside some of my students as I progress further in my academic career with further professional and academic qualifications. I will have the ability to deliver a greater level of education as well as an enhanced array of technical skills both to my students and fellow colleagues.
8. What is the best thing you have learnt at LSST?
The most vital skills I have learnt at LSST is the ability to work with MS Excel at an administrative capacity and most importantly in the capacity of a developer. It demonstrates how you can take a seemingly everyday software and create very useful tools which make your daily work simpler. I have used this knowledge to create problem solving software at several different professional environments and it never ceases to amaze me at just how much more efficient my tasks run.