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Thomas Nagler

Worth every second

‘This is no doubt one of the proudest achievements of my life,’ says Thomas Nagler. ‘Especially considering this was my first course as an assistant professor at the University. I care greatly about teaching and invested a lot of time and effort to make this course a success despite the circumstances. Seeing my efforts appreciated makes me feel that every second was worth it.’ 

‘Sparking excitement for my subject and seeing the many talented students grow is an extremely rewarding experience’ 

Live quizzes during lectures

Covid-19 made teaching much harder. ‘The biggest challenges were the reduced attention span students have when staring at a screen, and the difficulty in establishing a bond with students. To tackle the first problem, I've reduced the information content during lectures to the essentials and introduced live quizzes after every content block to keep students engaged. For the second problem, I made a deliberate effort to regularly ask students about their well-being and talked proactively about my own struggles with the situation.’ 

Helping talent grow

To Nagler, teaching is one of the most gratifying aspects of his job. ‘Without it, I would probably have left academia. Sparking excitement for my subject and seeing the many talented students grow is an extremely rewarding experience. The interplay between research and teaching is what keeps me balanced and I couldn’t excel in one without the other.’ 

Know your audience

To get the most out of the students’ talents, teachers should make an effort to understand their audience, Nagler believes. ‘That includes such things as background, personal situation, and of course their current level of expertise. As a teacher, you have to adapt your teaching style accordingly. I also believe that students learn best when they enjoy their time in class, and some degree of entertainment is necessary to achieve that.’ 

Nominated for the course: Statistics for Astronomy and Physics students
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