Cüneyt Demirgüreş’s Teaching Experience at KU

I always benefit from the recent articles and news. Before going to the class, I read the news and try to find something of interest to share with my students. This can make your class interesting when you can find references in daily news that are related to the topics you cover that same day.

Adj. Prof. Cüneyt Demirgüreş Graduate School of Business
Koç University Outstanding Award, 2015

I started teaching at Koç University in 2002. Since then, I have taught more than 50 courses in the Graduate School of Business.
The first impact is always extremely crucial. Make sure to be well-prepared before the first class and tell about yourself & the course as much as possible. Ask them to introduce themselves and try to initiate a conversation whenever possible.
At the beginning of each session, I try to raise some questions that create curiosity about the lecture. These questions generally touch upon their daily life. Raising some questions about their personal habits establish a ground for understanding the relevance of finance in their day-to-day living. In that way, they understand how to use theoretical knowledge gained from this course in other settings.
I always go to my classes early. I want to be sure that the class equipment works well, so that in the case it does not, I have time to tackle any technical issues.
I prefer to use a touch screen computer not to waste time with technology. It makes my job easier; I can open datasets and zoom in and out easily.

I have adapted a variety of techniques while teaching my course. In general, I teach mostly using the board; however, I always wrap up on PowerPoint. At the end of the day, for the last 5 minutes, I summarize the main points on the PowerPoint so students understand the clear transition of thought. I always provide concept related exercises.

From time to time, I invite some experts to my class. This practice encourages students to make connections between course content and out-of-class settings.

I always benefit from the recent articles and news. Before going to the class, I read the news and try to find something of interest to share with my students. This can make your class interesting when you can find references in daily news that are related to the topics you cover that same day.
I try to have control in the class. I spot difficult students from the very beginning and do not allow them to spoil the flow. Some students tend to speak more than others. In this kind of situation, you can change the topic in a very polite way.

I avoid giving false information about the subjects or topics I do not know. Sometimes I receive questions that I am not able to answer at that point. I confess and simply say that “I do not know”. If you do not know something, just say so and make a point that you will find out. Make sure that you take notes about the question, find the answer and share it with your student afterwards. Turning back to them will make them feel special.

I engage constantly with my students. I talk to them about their academic development, career and personal life. I put in some effort for those who are about to fail my course by giving extra sessions.

I frequently ask questions to get the attention of the class. I allow my students to bring and use their lap-tops during class. I am aware that it could be a distraction, but if I realize that I am losing the attention of a particular student, I will start to ask him/her questions directly. However, sometimes I can be harsh. If you are aware that you have hurt a student, talk to your student and apologize.

I do quizzes at the beginning of each class. Students resist the quizzes at first, but in time, they get used to it. The quizzes make up around 60 percent of their course grades. Students know that I do it every week and they do their assignments at home. Doing quizzes also allows me to understand and observe the topics that are not well understood. Since I do quizzes each week, I do not need to take attendance separately.

I use lots of examples while teaching. Since I have a background in the corporate sector, I can come up with many real life examples. I believe that this makes my class more interesting and relevant. Again technology helps at this point, as I can bring any Turkish listed companies financials to the classroom in few seconds and make it available for discussion.

I place a lot of importance on the end of semester evaluation. To give the pink form, make sure that timing is good and the course code is written correctly. Be sure to remind students not to forget to answer question 14. Do not get disappointed or defensive when you read negative comments. Always read the feedback and give them value.

Every year go through your notes. Try to include more attractive graphs, examples, real life stories, exercises. Take out anything that was boring in your previous notes. If you compare my initial year notes with the last one, you wouldn’t believe the change!

Most importantly, when you go to the classroom, feel that its your showtime!