Teaching win for Amin

19 Mar 2021

If you’ve studied engineering at The University of Queensland in the last 15 years, chances are you’ll know Associate Professor Saiied Aminossadati, better known to his students and colleagues as ‘Amin’.

Providing a personalised experience to a 1000-strong cohort every year is challenging, but Amin is proof that – with passion and discipline – it’s possible. 

“I love sharing my knowledge and skills with my students,” Amin said.

This is easy to see as he stands in front of his lecture theatre and snaps a selfie with a sea of smiling faces in the background.

He is also an accomplished academic in UQ’s School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, with research at the cutting edge of the fields of fluid mechanics, mine ventilation and fibre optic sensing.

But it’s teaching that takes up the bulk of his time.

“Teaching gives me great satisfaction and I want to continue to make my students’ learning journeys rewarding,” he said.

“I always aim to inspire students and stimulate their intellectual curiosity, while encouraging them to become independent learners.

“Once they know how to ask and find answers to the questions that really matter, I know they will enjoy themselves in class and have fantastic careers.”

Amin was recently recognised for his outstanding work in the classroom with a UQ Award for Teaching Excellence, one of only four recipients across the University for 2020.

2020 Teaching Excellence Awards - Dr Saiied Aminossadati from The University of Queensland on Vimeo.

He was celebrated by colleagues and students alike for his enthusiasm and commitment to providing the most supportive learning environment possible throughout the COVID-19-disrupted 2020 teaching year.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Amin moved quickly to incorporate peer-reviewed pedagogical approaches into the new online format, focusing on blended learning and student outcomes.

“Amin went out of his way to adapt to the online environment,” one second-year student said.

“He made sure there were plenty of videos, zoom tutorials, catch-up tutorials and mock online exams for us - I really don’t think he could have been expected to do any more.”

With the goal of enabling students to experience practical classes in his ‘Fluid Mechanics’ course, despite being forced off-campus, Amin developed an online training module, incorporating a series of interactive simulations, supportive illustrations, animations, videos and knowledge-check quizzes.

“Students were able to see various applications of fluid mechanics in everyday problems; they could also see how their knowledge of fluid mechanics would help them develop solutions for complex problems.”

The results for his and his team’s efforts speak for themselves: better marks, higher attendance at online and in-person classes and happier students.

As an early adopter of this new and complex style of digital teaching, Amin was called in to help learning designers from around the world to improve their COVID-era teaching.

“To be a great teacher, I think you always have to be evaluating your own performance and making constant improvements so your students get the attention and results they deserve,” he said.

“There’s always a way to create bigger and better experiences for them, and I never plan to stop trying.”

This award marks the 12th teaching excellence award that Associate Professor Saiied Aminossadati has received since 2007.

To see the full list of recipients from the 2020 UQ Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, including the The Environmental Systems Engineering Team with Associate Professor Kate O'Brien, Associate Professor Steven Pratt, Dr Peter Ellerton, Dr Bernadino Virdis and Dr Lisa Bai, visit the UQ Teaching and Learning website.