What I find exciting and rewarding as a scientist is not only the pursuit of knowledge through research, in my case as deep as computer vision and multimedia retrieval, but also the application thereof in visual search engines, and the sharing of that knowledge through teaching and advising. I view teaching as a valuable learning process for the students as well as for myself. Therefore, I have been teaching and supervising students since I started my endeavors as a researcher.
Amsterdam and Berkeley
At the University of Amsterdam, I have taught several courses related to multimedia retrieval, with a special emphasis on visual data. In 2006 I was responsible for lectures on video categorization, search, and recommendation in a course on personalized information retrieval. In 2010 I developed and taught a new course on data mining using collective intelligence for bachelor students. At the University of California, Berkeley I have developed and taught in 2010 a full-semester course on visual search engines for graduate students in electrical engineering and computer science. Since 2004 I have advised ten undergraduate students and two PhD students through weekly meetings and external co-operations, mostly on visual retrieval topics. I have organized a weekly reading group for the 15 PhD students in our lab. Through these teaching and mentoring opportunities, I have learned how rewarding it is to teach on visual search.
A professional attitude towards education is imperative to further strengthen my teaching and mentoring skills. Therefore, I have recently finished an intensive teaching course. This Basic Teaching Qualification covers: the design and provision of teaching, supporting the learning process, organizing education and quality control, and fostering a professional attitude. It was during this course where I was first introduced to active teaching methods like Mazur peer instruction and fast feedback. I have experimented with these active learning techniques during lectures on Intelligent Multimedia Systems for Artificial Intelligence students and I find it truly amazing how effective these techniques are to energize students and to revitalize the classroom. I consider my open attitude towards innovations inside the classroom an important teaching asset.
Tutorials and Summer Schools
Since 2006 I have been teaching more than 15 tutorials on image and video search engines at international conferences and summer schools. At these PhD-level (often paid) courses I exploit the experience gained in teaching at the University of Amsterdam, UC Berkeley, and at the Dutch national research school ASCI. A good example of such a tutorial is the one at the leading conference in computer vision, ICCV 2009, in Kyoto with more than 1400 attendees. I consider it an honor that the best international conferences in the field, such as CVPR, ICCV, and ACM Multimedia, have asked for my tutorials and that my teaching efforts have been supported by Erasmus and Fulbright teaching grants. However, for me personally the contact with new researchers in the field is the most precious aspect of international teaching. I find it very valuable to help them forward with their research, and so do they. Worldwide teaching is a rewarding aspect of my academic career.
Educating people outside the academic realm is another personal drive. I have been active in the dissemination of research results to educate the general public. A good example is the video that was produced of the VideOlympics, a real-time evaluation showcase where video search engines compete to answer specific video searches in front of a live audience. A more recent activity is the start-up of a media lab for high-school students. During the lab, high-school students are introduced to new ways of searching video based on advanced retrieval methods developed at the University of Amsterdam. Again active learning is an important component, this time introduced by letting the students operate an interactive video search engine. I consider educating the general public in general, and high-school students in particular, an important task, as these youngsters are likely to become the students and educators of the future.