Four Courses I Would Love to Teach

If I could wave my magic wand...

Introduction

I find teaching in general to be rewarding. Based on my background and interests, being able to impart valuable lessons on analytics and system design to my ASU students gives me great joy. And there’s more: Because I teach capstone courses, I get to help students solve organizations’ real data- and tech-oriented problems.

It would be foolish for me to think, though, that I’ll always teach these courses. Times certainly change and colleges adapt their curricula as well based on new trends. ASU is a case in point. I’ve been contributing material to a new blockchain course.

Over the past few months, I’ve thought about additional courses that I’d love to develop and/or teach at some point in my career. Four come to mind, at least two of which already exist in some form at different universities.

Platform Thinking: Lessons from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google

Prospective audiences: Seniors and grad students

I’d have a blast developing and teaching this one. Imagine a course that explores how Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have embraced platform thinking. I’d love to cover the benefits and drawbacks of true platforms—and there’s no shortage of the latter these days. Some prominent folks are even calling to break up the Gang of Four.

In fact, schools such as Boston University already offer a similar course.

Technology and Communication

Prospective audiences: Seniors and grad students

All too often, we think that we’re communicating effectively when we are not. Sure, we send that e-mail or memo but did our recipient really understand our point?

Drawing upon lessons from Message Not Received, I’d really enjoy teaching a course on the perils of e-mail and jargon. Beyond stating the obvious problems with the status quo in corporate communication, I’d discuss solutions by way of case studies explained in the book.

Amazon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Prospective audiences: All undergrad and grad students

Perhaps no company is as controversial, powerful, innovative, and customer-centric as Jeff Bezos’ brainchild. I could envision a course that starts with the company’s modest beginnings and covers AWS, Alexa, as well as failures such as the Fire Phone. The way that the company uses data and tech continues to amaze me. What’s more, it’s certainly not an easy place to work.

Critical Thinking on Steroids

Prospective audiences: Seniors and grad students

This course already exists at the University of Washington. If I were 21 again, I’d enroll immediately in Calling Bullshit: Data Reasoning in a Digital World.

The ability to think critically will only increase in the future.

I think more than ever about the downsides of all of this tech and data. Those who only see the upsides are fooling themselves. (Couldn’t resist.) The ability to think critically will only increase in the future. Those who dubiously answer questions with “I saw it on the Internet” will continue to appear ill-informed.

Simon Says

As I continue my academic career, I hope to explore these subjects in more depth.

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