Once a year, the LMU mathematics, physics and computer science department evaluates among the students which lecturers and which tutors have shown outstanding commitment to teaching. The “Golden Sommerfeld” for the physics department has already been awarded since 2017. In 2022, the “Golden Carathéodory for the Department of Mathematics and the “Teaching Award of Computer Science” are being introduced. The aim is to honor outstanding courses and tutorials and to indicate them as a good example.
On Thursday, January 12th, 2023, Prof. Dr. Linnhoff-Popien was awarded the “Teaching Prize of Computer Science 2022” for the “Best Bachelor Lecture”. Nearly 10,000 students of the group Active Student Bodies Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science from the last winter semester 2021/2022 and summer semester 2022 voted and agreed: Prof. Dr. Linnhoff-Popien’s lecture “Computer Architecture” was particularly outstanding.
What characterizes a good course? Prof. Dr. Linnhoff-Popien was asked directly about her teaching in the summer semester 2022 and she reports as follows:
“It was April 2022, a tumultuous time regarding Corona, and there we were expecting 700 to 800 students from 16 different study paths, who enrolled in the computer architecture course. The booked lecture hall had 600 seats. At that time, I had met both students who craved face-to-face lectures and students who had family members who belonged to risk groups and were strongly advised to avoid close contact. For these scenarios, we created a flexible lecture concept accordingly, and the following three aspects were important to me:
WHAT – According to the curriculum, only classical computers and computing methods are taught in computer architecture. In addition to the classical approaches, I included an introduction to quantum computing (QC) as an optional compulsory module. Those who wanted to learn QC could do an exercise on it in the exam. Those who had no interest in QC alternatively programmed assembler as an exam task. Remarkable 96% of the students studied QC additively to the classical material.
HOW? – I put great importance on keeping the lecture clearly structured and easy to understand. Afterwards, each student had the opportunity to intensify the lecture content in tutorials, in which exemplary exercises were calculated. Then they could prove their knowledge by calculating and presenting weekly exercise sheets in order to receive bonus points. Our team of 11 tutorials corrected an average of 1,800 exercises per week. Hundreds of exams were corrected within 48 hours after they were written. My big thanks go to the incredible team of three teaching assistants and practice guides who were very engaged in providing individual attention to each student and answering each question that comes up one at a time.”
The award certificate recognizes the lecture as follows:
“Best Bachelor Lecture – Computer Architecture (Summer Semester 2022) – Prof. Linnhoff-Popien – In the evaluation, the best Bachelor lecture was characterized by its passionate and sympathetic communication of complex topics. The lecture was praised as well structured and well arranged. Some students described the lecture as the best of their lives.
The joy of the award winners last Thursday was very great and the mood exuberant. We can be curious which lectures will be nominated next year by the body of a department of mathematics, physics and computer science of the LMU.