Sam Schwartz

PhD Candidate

Department of Computer Science, University of Oregon
Office: Deschutes 207 - C
Curriculum Vitae: PDF (September 2023)


Last Updated September 2023
Sam's teaching philosophy, past professional development experiences, and a sampling of student reviews are described on this page.

Teaching Testimonials

Here are some verbatim responses from my end-of-term student evaluations at the University of Oregon over the years:
  • Sam was a great [graduate employee] and maybe a even better professor someday. Glad he was our GE because he really brought a different viewpoint and teaching style to lab and class
  • My instructor has been very patient with our class and always makes sure that every single person understands the material. I think he's one of the best instructors I have had to teach a mathematics course
  • Sam Schwartz is probably the best instructor on campus. He is about to communicate his thoughts very well for all to understand. As well as, he gives very very valuable information on topics that this course doesn't teach us. Such as the world of jobs, research, academia, and programming as a whole. Sam has completely opened my eyes to the world of computer science and that is the most important thing i learned in this course entirely.
  • Sam gives great feedback and instruction that makes the concepts easy to understand
  • Sam was great at explaining hard-to-understand concepts without directly giving you the answer
  • Sam always tries to get you to find the answer on your own, but nudges you in the right direction. He is constantly checking in not only to make sure you're keeping up with the assignment, but that you're doing well in general.
  • Details exactly what you did incorrectly and guides you in what you should fix, but does not fix it for you (which is a great and helpful thing!)
  • Always answers emails. Every day of the week there are office hours!!
  • Sam was very helpful this term. He brought a great attitude and showed that he genuinely cared. He also encouraged interaction from students, something that has not happened with past instructors in previous terms.
  • Love this guy. Great energy and keeps you engaged in whatever he's explaining. Always supportive and encourages questions. Hope I get Sam again sometime down the line.
  • The energy and helpfulness that the instructor brings to the classes really brings the room a lot of energy and makes things much more lively. They are also able to answer any questions I had very well.
  • Great [graduate employee] He really cares about the students and offers a lot of help.
  • Sam and his TAs are very friendly and quick responding.
  • Sam brought energy to class whatever day and time it was. Really made an impact on me because I felt like I needed to match his energy in class and lab section
  • Sam is a really intelligent and helpful teacher, was a huge aid in my learning the material for this class.
  • Sam has been amazing help and explains things very well. He has a very positive attitude and makes the work we do feel important when it initially didn't.
  • Sam does a good job of going around the room and asking the students if they need any help with anything and he also just says hi to everyone which is really nice because he is checking in to make sure everyone is on the same page. He is also able to clarify any problems or questions that we may have about our assignments for the week or lab work for the day.
  • Best lab I've took so far
  • The instructor always seemed excited to teach. It's refreshing to see.
  • Sam did a very good job when teaching the lab. He was very engaging and I appreciated his energy. Lab can be boring and he brought the fun to lab which helped me stay engaged. He also did a great job at clarifying topics that were a bit confusing.
  • The instructor will give everyone chance to ask questions and help everyone in this course.
  • Sam was always very enthusiastic when teaching the new concepts we were covering each class, and whenever we had questions he was always happy to help.
  • Doing a great job to the best of his ability and helped a lot when someone is confused or lost!
  • Very helpful to join his labs and he explains things very well
  • Sam did a great job making everyone feel welcome and getting questions answered
  • The level of detail was helpful from this instructor.
  • Very open and communicative.
  • was always willing to help out all students in the class, with assignment related issues and any other concerns.
  • Sam was very enthusiastic and supportive
  • Sam is helpful and willing to explain material in details so you can understand.
  • He was a lot of fun.
  • This was a very lovely class to come to and I found my time here really helpful.
  • I really enjoy working with others and the enthusiasm of Sam.
  • Glad he was our GE. Just want to drive home the fact that he brought a very high level of energy and passion for this course and it impacted the students especially in his lab section
  • The lab was well run and always engaging.
  • Sam did a great job teaching this lab, he was very helpful and was a great instructor.
  • Sam is an amazing instructor and helped with any and all questions that I had.
  • nice guy, very helpful
  • You were always available and ready to help.
  • Sam is the goat.

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is oriented around using research-backed principles to implement evidence based practices in an iterative manner. I feel that becoming an effective educator is not an end, but rather an ongoing sequence of opportunities to improve oneself professionally.

In undertaking these opportunities, I have been able to acquire a guiding set of beliefs which inform the practical choices I make in constructing the classroom experience. These guiding beliefs, all backed by peer-reviewed research or professional experience, are noted in no particular order below.

Guiding Beliefs

I believe that ...

Overarching Paradigms

Each of these beliefs are held with two wider frameworks in mind. Namely:

  1. Identifying the assessment style for a particular objective. This is done by determining the type of assessment as one of the elements in the Cartesian product of {formal assessments, informal assessments} and {formative assessments, summative assessments}.
  2. Identifying the learning level(s) of a particular objective through using Cangelosi's Learning Level Categorization Schema. This is a peer reviewed alternative to the better known Bloom's Taxonomy. Cangelosi's research is focused on the pedagogy of mathematics and closely related fields.
Both of these frameworks duplicate or extend on topics discussed in the book by James Cangelosi Teaching Mathematics [...]: an Interactive Approach. Merril, 2003.
Assessment Style
  1. Formal assessments are assessments which become a part of the student's academic record or final grade in any capacity.
  2. Informal assessments are assessments which do not become a part of the student's academic record or final grade in any capacity.

  3. Formative assessments are assessments which are taken when the student is expected to still be learning the concept or objective at hand.
  4. Summative assessments are assessments which are used to inform an instructor's ultimate judgment of student success.
Examples of Assessments
Informal Formal
Summative (Not Applicable) Anything written and graded. Often includes homework. Definitely includes traditional quizzes and exams, both written or oral.
Formative "By a show of thumbs up or thumbs down, how well do you feel you understand X concept?" Certain "Day One" 0 point course preparedness quizzes, iClicker questions linked to Canvas/Blackboard or other educational management system.

Sources of Past and Present Pedagogical Professional Development

I have primarily received pedagogical training from three programs: