Senior Lecturer Miguel Morales-Trujillo
School of Computer Science and Software Engineering
Miguel’s teaching philosophy has evolved through authenticity and innovation. He believes that teaching should have a direct connection to the real world. Miguel strives to encourage students to think about what they have learnt long after the class is over, which is why his learning outcomes do not just describe desired knowledge and skills. Instead, he thinks of them as a new ability that students will possess, something like a “superpower” they recently discovered in themselves. He says: “I would like to think that at UC, our final ‘output’ – our graduated students – are a piece of art nurtured and modelled by our pūkenga: lecturers and tutors. It is a gratifying experience to be part of the team that participated in the formation of our students.”
Miguel designs games to teach programming languages, soft-skills or just having fun while learning. These have positive effects not only on student motivation and engagement, but also, more importantly, on students’ academic performance. These activities bring to light ethical and social situations that show students how they can influence their communities and society.
He not only seeks feedback from his students to improve his teaching, but also from employers. Miguel focusses on nurturing graduates’ work-readiness skills including communication, initiative, problem-solving, self-management and teamwork. One employer commented: “We have thoroughly enjoyed having X as a part of our team. His integration was seamless, his contribution outstanding and his work ethic second to none. We would willingly have him back in a heartbeat.”
KUALI-Brick is a LEGO-based activity that Miguel developed to help students understand and apply Software Process Improvement and Quality Assurance concepts and techniques. Learners build objects and assess their quality based on metrics associated with specific attributes. Creating a meaningful and concrete representation (a dinosaur) of an abstract concept (quality) boosts student understanding, their motivation, systematic skills and engagement. International researchers have expressed an interest in the resources Miguel develops and in the results from his empirical studies.
Miguel’s innovative incorporation of new pedagogies and student-centric approach exemplifies the strong teaching/research nexus that is so critical to effective tertiary education. His influence reaches from his undergraduate students through to a growing number of Masters’ and PhD candidates.