Adam Porter: CMNS Board of Visitors Creative Educator Award

The Professor's work in expanding and revolutionizing education is acknowledged by CMNS.
By Marcus Fedarko

It was announced today, April 15, that Computer Science professor Dr. Adam Porter had won a Board of Visitors Creative Educator award from the College of Computer, Math, and Natural Sciences. The award, which is intended to “encourage and recognize significant creative and innovative contributions to the educational experience of undergraduate students,” is conferred annually to a professor within the College.

A researcher in Software Engineering, Dr. Porter currently teaches CMSC433 (Programming Language Technologies and Paradigms) and will teach CMSC436 (Programming Handheld Systems) this Fall. One of the first things apparent from a glance at his course offerings is how many students want to take them: at the time of writing CMSC436, a 50-seat class, has a staggering waitlist of 27 students.

The popularity of Dr. Porter's classes is not unprecedented. For decades, he has worked to improve methods of education, applying new principles to his own classes. His work in “flipping the classroom”—working on problems in class and using multimedia to teach concepts to students outside of class, in lieu of the usual lecture-homework paradigm—led him to create a Video Production Lab in the Computer Science department to catalyze the production of videos and multimedia by faculty members. CS Professor Dr. Yiannis Aloimonos writes that “[Dr. Porter] is transforming teaching into a unique audio-visual experience that represents, in the view of the computer science faculty, the teaching of the future.”

The scope of Dr. Porter's work surpasses the University of Maryland. Along with working as a Professor in UMD's CS Department, Dr. Porter is also a Visiting Scientist at Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute and a Research Fellow at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering. Perhaps most impressive, his co-creation of a Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Android development garnered a massive amount of enrolled students—over 500,000 from over 200 countries, according to Dr. Aloimonos—reaching a fantastically large audience from across the world.

It is clear that the work of Dr. Porter has made a difference not only for his students at the University, but for students of all ages the whole world over. As Dr. Aloimonos writes, “[Dr. Porter] is a model to imitate for all of us in the computer science faculty.”

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