teaching

I am passionate about teaching in higher education contexts. Over past few years, I have had the opportunity to teach and work with students at multiple levels and contexts. I have taught engineers and preservice teachers at the undergraduate level, in-service teachers at the graduate level, and conducted several professional development workshops with international teaching assistants and graduate students at university level, and in-service teachers in K-12 settings. I have also worked as an educational counselor for over 2 years in India, working one-on-one with students regarding their educational development and career. While teaching at both undergraduate and graduate level, I have taught in face-to-face, online, and hybrid or blended (partially face-to-face and online) formats. Additionally, I have also interacted with small groups of 4-5 students as a fellow with the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities discussing intricacies of learning a foreign language (Hindi), led several workshops as an Inside Teaching fellow at the Graduate School, and hosted, produced, and conducted webinars that were shared publicly on the internet. My students have ranged from freshmen to in-service teachers with over ten years of experience, in settings where section sizes have ranged from as low as one student to 120, and even sessions intended for bigger and live audience over the internet. In all these, I have received highly positive student evaluations as well as part of the team that was awarded the MSU-AT&T Best Blended Course Award of Excellence in 2015 for creating a synchronous video conferencing and collaboration classroom for an undergraduate level course.

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

My approach to teaching comes from a rich array of lenses— deeply connected to my background, interests, and my stance towards education. My background in engineering, my passion for science as a way of knowing, my love of cinema as a medium for
expression, and my understanding of the socio-cultural nature of learning have all influenced how I approach the act of teaching. Thus, I value learning that is both grounded in knowledge of the discipline yet is not bounded by it. At heart is an understanding of the deeply humanistic nature of learning and thus seeks to address the learner in a holistic manner. Therefore, I seek to critically address multiple ways of being, knowing, and doing through an emphasis on three approaches that have always held true: humanizing pedagogies, enacted within multiliteracies framework to mobilize knowledge. To me, each of these provides a unique perspective on the process of learning even while being deeply interconnected with each other.

Humanizing Pedagogies. Throughout my teaching, irrespective of the format, I have attempted to create humanizing learning environments that encourage multiple voices and multiple ways of being, knowing, and doing. I encourage my students to reflect on where they stand in the society, critically question what they know about the world, and contribute their understanding back to society. For this reason, I often practice dialog with my students around critical issues of race and gender equity, media literacy, scientific literacy, creativity, and the role of technology. For example, in an undergraduate course titled Reflections on Learning, we discuss a wide range of topics, from the significance of being a culturally and globally competent citizen to covering the basics of learning theories and the human brain. My approach that blends humanistic approaches with multiliteracies underlies every aspect of the class and has gathered me overwhelmingly positive feedback from my students. As a result, as a class, we have learned to value and practice empathy as a key to humanizing learning and being culturally and globally competent.

Multiliteracies . There are multiple ways for someone to be literate. Literacy cannot be limited by a dominant culture’s definition of what it means to be literate. This is why, as a teacher, it is my responsibility to allow multiple identities, knowledge, and interactions to be possible and accessible to my students. With my graduate level teaching, I have worked with in-service teachers teaching in various settings. But, the one experience that I have found to be the most rewarding is my work with Chicago Public School teachers of STEM disciplines as an instructor in graduate certification on STEM & Leadership in urban school settings. Dealing with daily challenges of urban school settings and student engagement with STEM motivated me and the teachers I worked with to try new, creative ways of using technology in effective ways to engage students with the content and learn what it means to gain disciplinary understanding. We explored student misconceptions in science and mathematics by breaking the laws of nature through stop-motion animation. We created demotivational posters to face our biggest challenges in a humorous way. We also worked on the intersections of science and humanities and addressed the inherent nature of wonder and beauty in science and mathematics by creating videos that appeal aesthetically. Amidst all this, we learned the significance of teachers being STEM leaders in their schools and community. This is a work I am most proud of and intend to continue in other face-to-face, online, or hybrid forms if given an opportunity.

Knowledge Mobilization. In addition to teaching in formal settings, I am passionate about teacher professional development and spend a significant amount of time developing workshops and online content for the Graduate School targeted at Teaching Assistants. The act of creating these modules has emphasized to me the value of knowledge mobilization, particularly with digital technologies. I believe it is important for us as educators to use internet-based platforms to reach other teachers and learners to promote and exchange ideas and knowledge about practices and pedagogies that work. For this reason, I, along with some of my colleagues at Michigan State, created and have hosted a webinar series on teacher professional development. I have done almost every aspect of work for this webinar series, from running the webinar to being its social media manager, and from being part of a panel to actually hosting specific episodes.

In future, I see myself flexible and fit to lead face-to-face, online, and hybrid classes on issues of critical, scientific, and media literacy, technology, and STEM in urban and rural contexts. In keeping with my interest in multiple literacies, I seek to design contexts that not only provide access to information but also help develop the skills to transform this information into knowledge, as well as practice agency to apply this knowledge for solving problems. To achieve these three goals, the teacher, students, and technology partake in an educational transaction. Through this transaction, both the teacher and the students conduct a dialog and develop as human beings. They learn to think critically, scientifically, and humanely about the world, life, the problems we face, and solutions we can create. Thus, in that manner, both the learner and the teacher are transformed. This aspect of teaching and learning is what inspires me and helps me work towards a continuous cycle of improvement and growth.

 

Instructor of Record

Iowa State University – School of Education (Ames, IA)

Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (RESEV 580; Graduate Level; Fall 2017)
Course responsibilities: Designed and taught an introductory course to doctoral and master’s degree students from quantitative and qualitative research perspectives to appreciate and conduct qualitative research with ethical standards and quality.

Toying with Technology (MAT E 370; Undergraduate Level; Fall 2017)
Course responsibilities: Co-taught learning technologies course for math certification and learning technologies minors in elementary education. Used creativity, transdisciplinary thinking, engineering design, and repurposing as key approaches to thinking about technology in education with preservice teachers.

Michigan State University – College of Education (East Lansing, MI)

Technology and Leadership (CEP 815, online; Graduate Level; Summer 2017)
Course responsibilities: Co-taught leadership course for in-service teachers using technology as a tool to trigger positive change.

MSU-Wipro Urban STEM & Leadership Teaching Fellowship Program
(Graduate Certification; 2015—2017)
Course responsibilities: Worked as a co-instructor to design and teach the following courses that form the MSU Urban STEM program for teachers in Chicago Public Schools (CPS): CEP 805 (Learning Mathematics with Technology), CEP 806 (Learning Science with Technology), and CEP 815 (Technology and Leadership). Worked with 10 teachers from CPS each year on their ambitious year-long projects. Helped teachers learn how to mobilize their knowledge, create new content, explore their world from disciplinary lenses, take leadership of their instruction, and be a public scholar.

Reflections on Learning (TE 150; Undergraduate Level; 2015—2017)
Course responsibilities: Taught as a solo sectional instructor. Worked with 20-25 pre-service teachers and interdisciplinary students, discussing foundational topics on educational psychology. Taught global and intercultural competence and role of empathy in education.

Malwa Institute of Technology – Electronics and Communication Department (Indore, India) (Undergraduate level; 2011—2013)

Courses: Wireless Communication; Advanced Data Networks; Cellular Mobile Communication; Television & Radar Engineering,
Course Responsibilities: Course instruction, academic counseling, admission guidance, major stream selection and guidance, compatibility assistance, higher education consulting, basic motivational assistance.

 

Teaching Assistant

Michigan State University – College of Education (East Lansing, MI)

MSU-Wipro Urban STEM & Leadership Teaching Fellowship Program
(Graduate Certification; Spring 2015)
Course responsibilities: Worked with instructors to design and teach courses that form the MSU Urban STEM program for teachers in Chicago Public Schools.

Creativity in Teaching and Learning (CEP 818, online; Graduate Level; Fall 2014)
Course responsibilities: Worked with Dr. Punya Mishra to assist teachers in implementing seven trans-disciplinary skills and creativity in their everyday teaching and learning. Helped teachers learn how to mobilize their knowledge and be a public scholar. These teachers teach grade-levels ranging from kindergarten to high school to professional teacher development, covering subjects like math, science, theater, museum learning, etc.

MAET Summer Session at East Lansing (face-to-face, hybrid; Graduate Level; Summer 2014)
Course responsibilities: Co-taught with Dr. Danah Henriksen and Jonathan Good, training in-service teachers through three integrated seminars in technology, learning, and teaching over a 2-week face-to-face period followed by 4-week online sessions. Helped teachers explore various uses of technology and get acquainted with what is currently known about human learning and development. Helped teachers learn how to mobilize their knowledge and be a public scholar. This session covered three courses including CEP 800 on learning in school and other settings, CEP 815 on technology and leadership, and CEP 822 on approaches in educational research.

Teaching Students Online (CEP 820, online; Graduate Level; Summer 2014)
Course responsibilities: Co-taught with Dr. Anne Heintz and Sandra Sawaya, helping in-service teachers design online courses for students ranging from kindergarten to master’s level. Covered the essentials of an online course on various learning and course management systems. Covered key design and content-related challenges in teaching an online course.

Facilitator: Professional Development Workshops

Teacher Professional Development sessions with Ruth Fox Elementary (North Branch, MI)
Mehta, R. (2015, October). Multimodality is your friend.
Mehta, R. (2015, March). Bringing back Aesthetics to Science.
Mehta, R. (2014, August). How to effectively conduct Google Hangout-on-Air sessions.

Gretter, S. & Mehta, R. (May, 2016). “I saw it online. It must be true!” Media literacy across disciplines. [Organized and managed #MichEd Twitter chat on Media Literacy]

Gretter, S. & Mehta, R. (2016, February). Going multimodal with universal design for learning. Inside Teaching Lounge – The Graduate School, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Mehta, R. (2014—2016, August). Planning to Transition to Teaching in the U.S. – An Introduction to U.S. and Michigan State University Student Culture & Teaching Policies. Under Dr. Melissa McDaniels, Assistant Dean, The Graduate School & in collaboration with 20 peer facilitators.

Greenhalgh, S., Rosenberg, J., & Mehta, R. (2015, May). Online presence for graduate students: An introduction. Workshop at the BHEARD Scholar Conference, College of Agriculture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

EXCERPTS FROM STUDENT EVALUATIONS:

Face-to-face, TE 150

“Rohit is so knowledgeable and understanding. I have learned a lot about culture and teaching and although I am not a teaching or education major, I have enjoyed my time here.”

  • “Rohit was very enthusiastic and truly cared about his students and their different styles of learning regardless of how successful his activities were.”
  • “I really like Rohit! He was humorous and kind and just an overall great teacher. He tried to keep us interested and he did a good job of it!”
  • “Rohit is an incredible teacher and will inspire thousands of minds. This is not a joke. I really enjoyed having him and I’ve been at MSU for 5 years. I’m a marketing student.”
  • “He was a great teacher and I had a great time in his course. Like a mushroom, Rohit is a very fungi.”
  • “I love Rohit!”
  • “Rohit is a fantastic teacher. Enjoyed this class very much. Rohit kept me interested in the class. Definitely one of my favorite teachers I’ve had at MSU.”
  • “Rohit was a very good teacher. You can really tell he cares for his students learning and wishes to have them succeed socially, academically, and in any other facet of the student’s life. My favorite professor to date.”
HYBRID, MSU URBAN STEM
  • “Rohit was also helpful with my struggles with technology.  He was very patient and attentive during work times when I was trying to set up my website on Weebly.  I enjoyed his monitoring/guidance during tech talks and hope to do these now in our math dept as the year winds down.”
  • “Thank you for your guidance, support, and encouraging words. I thank you and appreciate the times when I needed extra support around troubleshooting with technology you stayed by my side and walked me through challenges. I felt better in knowing I had help from the instructor who guided me until I was successful in the tasks.”
  • “Rohit, always helpful, patient, and willing to help the learner whenever needed. Shows a commitment to learning and encourages others to learn.”
  • “Rohit is funny.  I think he did a great job facilitating the world of wonders and tech tips that each team had to present. I like the way he encouraged or promoted discussion of the articles read. I don’t think he needs to change what he is doing.”
  • “Rohit is engaging, positive, and has a good sense of humor. He is highly knowledgeable and does a great job of facilitating discussion. Knows when to take the lead or defer to his colleagues.”
  • “Rohit is very supportive and has provided welcome direction when I felt confused on my journey to develop my project. Provides assistance when needed in a timely manner. He has also provided clarification about assignments when asked going above and beyond in giving further resources to refer to as well.”
  • “Rohit’s talent is being able to analyze something and provide excellent clear and concise (non-threatening) feedback. He is very helpful and is committed to helping the student understand and learn the content.”
  • “Rohit is a very approachable instructor. I would like to thank him for helping me with my personal website.”

Featured image credit: British Psychological Society