Dr Sanaz Fallahkhair is a Principal Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction. Sanaz’s research interests include human-centred development of new technologies that incorporate studies of user’s experiences, cognition and collaboration in designing a novel intelligent systems delivered via multiple platforms: mobile devices, interactive television, tag-based technologies, wearable technologies, and robotic interactions.
Why I wanted to get into teaching
I always been interested in understanding the universe in scientific, and artistic perspectives. It may sound controversial but to me the combination of science, art and humanity together can only triumph. Exploring a potential of novel technologies into designing something useful, usable and accessible was my aspiration when started to purse career into software engineering through my UG degree and later to PG and PhD.
What drew me to teaching was not something that I started to explore during my PhD studies, however, it had been started when I started my UG studies. I have started to pursue teaching Maths, and Physics to GCSE and A level students.
Another aspiration to pursue teaching, is the social and collaborative nature of teaching that I appraise. Teaching enables me to work in an environment surrounded by enthusiastic minds.
I am a strong believer in research-informed teaching
The important and stimulating interplay between research and teaching is one of the defining aspects of studying at university as it enhances the student experience, facilitates learning novel and cutting-edge knowledge, and improves student employability. It also enriches research culture and environment. So, I do endeavour to inform my teaching by research.
What I am most proud of in my career is to be in the position to educate young minds as well as to push the knowledge acquired by research and innovations. In addition, I am also proud of being a woman in STEM – leading and working in an advanced computer science field developing an innovative technological solution and addressing global challenges.
I have received various awards and recognitions in the capacity of being a lecturer and researcher, i.e. a teaching excellence award from a UK higher education institution (University of Portsmouth) in the past, and best paper award at various highly ranked international conferences, including IEEE Advanced Learning technology in Japan.
I was invited to speak at Meta (Facebook) in the US. I was on a panel of data scientists – we were addressing, the keynotes on the topic of “Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ethics of AI and how will it affect our lives in the new decade? “ I’ve also delivered a keynote speech at IBM Research in Brazil on Augmented Reality Applications for Contextual Learning with Mobile and Wearable Technologies.
My research and teaching relate to global challenges
My research and teaching relate to the addressing important global challenges – designing and developing a human-centred technologies in the domains of healthcare modelling, cultural-heritage and e-learning. By designing technologies around human needs, experience, cognitions, and collaborations, we can design and develop human-centred technologies. The significance of our work also comes from our deep understanding of software engineering and computer science and how to model an intelligent system. Systems that can think and learn – the machine that can evolve which also can be accessible via multiple platforms: mobile devices, interactive television, tag-based technologies, wearable technologies.
The subject of human-centred development of technologies also endeavour to address global issues of developing responsible innovations. Responsible and accountable human-centred technological innovations addressing ethical, legal and socio-cultural requirements of humans and incorporates human needs into developing technological solutions.
My advice to prospective students
My advice to prospective students is to be truthful to their own aspirations in learning. It is good to be you, to be bold, to be diverse! Studying at higher education at university-level will give you knowledge, experience, and life-long transferable, social and communication skills that goes beyond knowledge that you can learn from book or online.
Our graduates are highly-knowledgable and skilled
My students have developed human-centred technologies that aim to addressed some of the main global challenges such as pandemic, global warming and social injustice. Some of these projects won the best project award at university-level and British Computer Society students competitions held annually.
Our students are highly knowledgeable and skilled and during an industrial placement year or after graduation are much in demand. They have found jobs in high-tech sectors, in corporate companies such as Microsoft, Google, Disney, IBM and so on, and some of them have gone on to work in SMEs or developed their own business in high-tech industry.