Teaching Philosophy

Teaching about a dynamic subject like IT is an interesting and important part of my time here at RPI. At a more abstract level, I perceive teaching to be a collaborative effort in a knowledge exchange that benefits not only my students but also myself. In that sense, I see teaching as a platform that extends my research perspective. I have taught to undergraduates, masters, and doctoral students while here at RPI. Each one of these requires a different perspective and understanding. For both undergraduate and graduate students, my philosophy is to provoke them in thinking about how IT is an enabler of innovation and efficiency, rather than an end in itself. I use a blend of theory and cases to stimulate the learning process. I encourage class participation through in-class role-play, real-world examples, interactions with industry experts, visual aids, and stimulating discussions. I draw not only on my own professional and research experience, but also on the students’ own experience to illustrate the value of IT in today’s world.

 

My teaching evaluations manifest my teaching efforts; I have won the Lally Graduate Teacher of the Year Award in 2018 and the Lally Best Teacher Award in 2020 for outstanding contribution to Lally’s teaching mission.

Teaching Core IS courses (MGMT 4140 and MGMT 6140)

I teach the core IS course at both undergraduate and graduate levels, in which I acquaint the students with the critical role played by IT in enabling core firm strategy and efficient business processes. Lally’s classes tend to be small, and given such small class sizes, it can be challenging to have a stimulating learning experience. To that end, I use breakout activities and small group discussions, videos, pop quizzes, recap exercises, and other short but effective conversation starters to encourage engagement. I also introduced a number of in-class games to reinforce class learning, such as the use of Legos to help understand information systems modularity and counting the number of M&Ms in a jar to understand the wisdom of the crowds. Second, I encourage creativity and teamwork through term projects. For the undergraduates, the term project focuses on an app design that strengthens their understanding of the strategy frameworks discussed in class; In the past I have invited entrepreneurship experts from across the campus to mentor the projects and help our budding entrepreneurs navigate ideation, validation, and implementation of interesting business ideas. For the masters’ students, the term projects help understand how IT enabled platform business models and disruptive innovations change the competitive landscape. Finally, in addition to these pedagogical initiatives, I have invited guest speakers, including those from Deloitte and RPI, who help the students appreciate how course objectives are implemented in the field by strategy consultants.

Teaching Data Analytics to Doctoral Students

I teach the core Data Analytics course to the Lally PhD students, which is offered to students in IS, strategy, marketing, finance, and accounting. This course focuses on the critical aspects of econometric analyses and identification and on understanding the underlying econometric principles that guide empirical research. I focused on identification and related econometric concepts that furthered the doctoral students' knowledge of core research methods learnt earlier. I usually have student led class discussions on the theoretical concepts and their research applications, followed by hand-on data analysis using Stata or R. I also assigned replication exercises as well a term paper that focused on overcoming data challenges.

Advising Doctoral Students
  • I was the primary advisor to William G. Obenauer (graduated 2019), with whom I share a common interest in research on discrimination. As an advisor, I mentored and of course, advised Billy over his dissertation, including but not limited to focusing on stellar research that targets premier peer-reviewed journals, as well as discussing dissertation committee formation, in addition to various other pro-forma obligations as an advisor. Billy successfully defended his dissertation in Spring 2019 and took up a tenure track position at Ithaca College.

  • I served on the dissertation Committee Member for Sukruth Suresh and Chaoqun Deng, both doctoral students in the IS area. Both Sukruth and Chaoqun are recent Lally graduates who were initially placed as tenure track faculty at the School of Business, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY and Trulaske College of Business, University of Missouri respectively. As a committee member, I have been involved in discussion about their dissertation, writing recommendation letters, among other advisory duties.

Sample Student Comments

   1. Undergraduate IS Core Course
  • “Good Evening Professor, I just want to thank you for all the great support throughout the semester. I admit that I enrolled in this course as MBA requirement but after listening to your lectures, I could get a big sigh of relief. All the lectures were informative and useful. I certainly learned a lot from this class. Thanks for being kind and supportive. Wish you great success in all walks of life and good health. I would like to make a casual appointment after the semester if you are available. A big big thank you for everything.

  • “I really enjoyed this course. The one thing I didn't like was the lack of feedback from case studies. In the future, it would be great if you or your TA could just write a sentence or two about whatever points were missed for each assignment.”

  • “I really enjoyed your course!”

  • “This is a fun class and very enjoyable.”

  • “This class was extremely enjoyable and I've learned a lot. It has peeked my interest in Technology and how it affects companies.”

  • “She does excellent work in presentations, conveying material, explaining foreign concepts, helping, and providing as many professional and academic resources as possible.”

  • “I just wanted to let you know that I truly had a wonderful time in your class as you allowed the entire class to be involved as well as let us and me especially, display our creative skills and diligent thinking processes in the final project.”

  • “Professor Langer was great and I enjoyed this course.”

  • “Hope your summer is going well! Im not sure if I told you, but I've been doing a summer internship at Mitsubishi united financial group (bank of Tokyo) in NYC. I'm doing finance and project management, but get to do a lot of IT as well with many of the projects we deal with. That being said, I thought I would let u know that I dealt with a lot of things in my internship that we learned in class! Specifically a lot of outsourcing, vendor risk analysis and enterprise systems. In addition, yesterday I was walking outside my building (Rockefeller center) and saw a big skinny tent set up (attached picture). I spoke to the vendor about the case study we did and he mentioned that he makes much of his sales by demonstrating the benefits of a big skinny wallet first hand to customers. I thought it'd be cool to share my experience with you, and thank you for a great class!”

  • “Really wonderful instructor, very clear on the main points of learning, engaging, and great use of blended learning. I learned a lot in her class and would want to take another class if she was teaching it.”

   2. MS/MBA IS Core Course:
  • “Really good class. Thank you Prof. Langer!”

  • “enjoyed this class a lot!”

  • “Professor Langer is great, so funny, and very knowledgeable about the domain of information systems. I learned A LOT from her course, so much so that it's really changed my perspective on the topic of tech in business. Definitely by far one of my favorite classes I've ever taken...Prof. Langer is also really funny as well. I loved the discussions in class and would recommend this class to a friend.”

  • “I'm writing this email to thank you for everything this semester. Thank you for the continuous support in both of your courses. I really enjoyed your classes and I loved your teaching style. I don't think I have ever had a dull moment in either of your classes.”

  • “It has been a great semester and I really enjoyed the course. For my undergraduate degree, I also took a course with the same title, however, your class provided a very different experience. I learnt a lot through different case reviews, break-out activities and projects, which really help us think deep and be engaged in the topics. I also want to express my appreciation for your caring and your advice on personal development. I will take your advice with me and speak up more during my future career.”

  • “Thanks for a wonderful semester, Prof Langer. Truly one of my favorite classes @ RPI. Your class made me rethink the way our world has developed and will continue to evolve.”

  • “And lastly, [I am thankful to] the incredible Dr. Langer opening up my mind to IS and showing me how much educated women rock.”

  3. Doctoral Data Analytics Core Course:
  • “I would like to use this opportunity to thank you for the feedbacks on my graded assignments, and especially the term project. Most of your comments are very helpful and as I move forward with the paper, I would look at addressing them. Equally, your course was a very helpful one for me and gave me a good chance to learn more about Stata, and also get familiar with identification strategies and methods. The class was also a fun one and I really did enjoy it.”

  • “It’s a pleasure to be in your class.”

  • “I really like your class. Like I said during one class I think currently IS research has not done a good job about data analysis part but as time goes they will start to have a higher demand of data analysis part. Since I have a good foundation of it due to this class I will be more ready for doing a better job of data analysis in future. Thank you for help during class.”

  • “Your course really took away my fear of econometrics.”

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langen[at]rpi.edu

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