BIOMIMETICS, BIOMECHANICS, and BIO-INSPIRED ROBOTS, FALL 2013  (TA) For this new class, I planned and delivered a series of six 90-minute lectures and four accompanying homework assignments on legged robot simulation, optimal control, and their uses in bio-inspired robot design.  For the course final project, students wrote simulations and performed trajectory optimization to facilitate mechanical and controller design of a bio-inspired robot.  I also prepared original laboratory excercises on using an mbed microcontroller and measuring characteristics of human walking and running gaits.  All course materials are available after being granted access permission on MIT Stellar.

Teaching Experiences

INTRODUCTION TO NUMERICAL SIMULATION, FALL 2012 (TA)  Besides holding office hours and revising assignments, I prepared and delivered a 90-minute lecture on the numerical analysis of multistep integration schemes for ODEs, including example applications from my research on legged running robots.  Although the course did not have any tests, I organized a review session for the class to reinforce the material learned over the course of the semester.  The online forum I set up for the course was very well utilized; I made about 30% of the ~450 total contributions by students and instructors. 

Teaching

I enjoy teaching because it challenges my own understanding of material and encourages me to look at subjects from different angles in order to find a simple, naturally progressing way of presenting them. It's also a perfect opportunity to learn new subjects!

In June, the UCLA Department of Mathematics selected me as a recipient for the 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2014, I was nominated by the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering for the Goodwin Medal and won the Graduate Teaching Award for the School of Engineering, two institute-level teaching awards.

Videos of student final projects:

Ocelot

Simulation

Video

 

Kankan

Simulation

Video

 

Robot Federer

Simulation

Video

 

Kanga

Simulation

Video

 

RoboBlade

Simulation

Video

 

Puncher

Simulation

Video

 

Basilisk Lizard Leg

Simulation

Video

 

DeBug

Simulation

Video

 

Undergraduate Evaluations

(6.9 / 7 overall)

Graduate Evaluations

(7 / 7 overall)

Student Evaluations

(6.1 / 7 overall)

COMPUTER PROGRAMMING, FALL 2014 - PRESENT  As an assistant Adjunct Professor in the Program in Computing as UCLA, I've taught first and second courses in C++ (PIC 10A, 2x; PIC 10B, 2x), an introduction to Java for students with some programming experience (PIC 20A, 7x), and a relatively advanced course in Python (PIC 16, 2x), which I created from scratch. Class sizes have ranged from 30-120 students with one to four TAs.

 

In teaching evaluations, students are asked to rate the professor on a 9 point scale in two categories:

Q1.1 "How would you rate your instructor as an effective teacher?"

Q1.2 "How would you rate the availability and helpfulness of your instructor outside of the classroom?"

Over all classes, with 75%+ response rate, the median response for each question has been 8.

Original course content and full evaluations available upon request.

Selected Comments from Course Evaluations

(Complete evaluations and all comments are available via PDF links above)

“In my 9 years at MIT, Matt has been hands-down the best TA I've had. He really gave this class 100%. He lectured, graded assignments, was ultra-available/accommodating when scheduling office hours. The quality of Matt's lectures was excellent, and equivalent to that of a very good professor.”
Student 35624, Biomimetics, Biomechanics, and Bio-Inspired Robots, Fall 2013
 
“The most helpful, dedicated, and best TA I've ever had. Really went above and beyond what was required - very clear lecturer, good powerpoint slides, responsive to emails, good at providing additional resources.”
Student 1636, Biomimetics, Biomechanics, and Bio-Inspired Robots, Fall 2013

 

“Matt is by far one of the best TAs I have ever had. He is extremely knowledgable, always willing to answer questions, and definitely goes the extra mile to ensure that his students get the help that they need and understand the material in depth.”
Student 34836, Biomimetics, Biomechanics, and Bio-Inspired Robots, Fall 2013
 
“Matt was excellent. He went to great lengths in explaining concepts (from fundamentals), is a very good teacher, very organized and presents material well. He was able to make connections between the class and real world applications (including his research) which really improved my attitude towards the class and increased my motivation.”
Student 50651, Introduction to Numerical Simulation, Fall 2012
 
“Excellent. He was very enthusiastic during office hours and it was evident that he enjoyed the class material. He gave very clear explanations to questions and the lecture he gave was excellent. He initiated a piazza forum for the class and gave very detailed answers to every question which I found really useful for the psets.”
Student 8161, Introduction to Numerical Simulation, Fall 2012
 
“Matt was an awesome TA. He explained the things we were confused about in lecture that showed up on the psets. He also helped us come up witha framework for doing the pset questions. I found his office hours really helpful and would have gotten terrible pset grades without them.”
Student 7087, Introduction to Numerical Simulation, Fall 2012
Q1.1 Responses

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