2020 Gitner Award Winner

Abbas Attarwala, of the Department of Computer Science

Computer Science Lecturer Abbas Attarwala, of the College of Arts & Sciences, is winner of the 2020 Gitner Family Award for Innovation in Teaching with Technology.

Computer Science Lecturer Abbas Attarwala identifies three principles that guide his teaching: continually improving his practice through reflection and evidence-based teaching methods; promoting collaboration inside and outside of formal learning environments; and increasing student excitement about computer science and mathematics. Abbas holds firm to these principles by seamlessly and creatively integrating a vast set of technological tools into his teaching.

When Abbas noticed students in his Introduction to Computer Science II course struggling with programming in Java, he implemented live coding via Eclipse during lectures. By using the technology to purposefully demonstrate coding mistakes for students in real-time, he helps them work through problems they will grapple with as programmers outside of the classroom.

A problem-solver at heart, Abbas also radically simplified the way students turn in their work. When existing technology for submitting assignments proved too complex and time-consuming for students in his Introduction to Computer Science II, he devised a novel drag-and-drop submission feature through OneDrive that made the process trivially easy. This innovation was recognized at the University level when Abbas was invited to speak at BU’s 4th annual Teaching with Technology festival.

Abbas is committed to ensuring students’ active and continual engagement with course material, using web tools like Zoom and YouTube to deliver synchronous and asynchronous lectures; and conducting special workshops outside of class time that leverage course material to build real-world examples. Students receive bonus credit for attending the workshops, which are open to the entire Computer Science department.