Home Page Image
 

thomas.rienzo@wmich.edu

Eventually, life teaches us all humility.

 


Office Hours:
3325 Schneider Hall

Summer 1- 2014:

T: 3P - 5P
R: 9:30A - 11:30A

CIS
at
WMU

last updated
4/29/2014



Welcome

I believe that good teaching is good selling. The outcome of both processes should be conceptual change. Students or clients should see the world differently as a result of their learning experiences, and be willing to make decisions based on new perspectives. The best way to sell is to provide value in the eyes of the customer. This is a challenging effort in industrial settings, but it becomes even more complex in academic environments, because students are simultaneously customers with respect to course offerings and products with respect to potential employers. In the academy there is an inherent dynamic tension between product optimization and customer satisfaction.

I believe that while a university education cannot afford to be irrelevant to employable skills, the university experience should be expansive in its breadth and depth. It should be a laboratory of new theories and new ideas as well as an explorer and interpreter of well established best practices. In the university, students should be exposed to relationships and connections that help them see themselves in a story that is larger than their individual lives.

I judge that experiential learning is the best form of learning, and students become interested in courses if they can see them as relevant to their lives and beneficial to their future aspirations. I try to incorporate commercial examples of course concepts wherever appropriate using business and technology articles from respected information providers.  Videos from MIT World also provide valuable exposure to leading thinkers in business and technology. I use projects and exercises to offer students a visceral feel for course subject matter, and utilize as many on-line resources as possible to provide access to course material from any network connection. Just as a robust integrated philosophy emerges from exposure to many concepts and perspectives, courses should employ a variety of communication mechanisms whenever possible to address different learning styles. Newly available collaboration software offers rich communication possibilities.

My teaching and research interests focus on the integration of enterprise, productivity, and collaboration software. These are important topics with significant impact to modern life. But I think that the most important exchanges with students have almost nothing to do with effective use of technology. The most important messages deal with living a reflective life and an endless search for discovery and meaning. After more than 50 years of reflection, I judge that there are three things that are mine to do:

  • teach
  • deliver the message "the story is bigger than you" in many different ways
  • be a messenger of awe
I am sure that I will spend the rest of my days on this planet trying to discern ways to do those things.