Faculty Innovator David Malan on Teaching and Open Education
David Malan landed his first gig at Harvard in 1995: the college freshman. He was studying government, up until his sophomore year, when he took an introductory science course with now Princeton professor Brian Kernighan. The class was coined CS50, and for the first time, Malan enjoyed doing his homework.
After realizing computer science was his calling, Malan started applying for graduate school, soon receiving both his master’s and PhD from Harvard. Along the way, he founded two companies, one called Crimson Tutors, that provided area students with academic tutors from Harvard and MIT. He also worked for the Special Investigations Division in the Office of the Middlesex District Attorney and served as the CIO of Mindset Media.
His career came full circle in 2007, however. “I just kept finding exciting opportunity after exciting opportunity,” Malan says. “Most particularly being able to take over the course that so inspired me.” His dream job fell into his lap, and he became the newest professor of CS50. “My fear was that I didn’t want to be the guy who drove the course into the ground.” Over the last 17 years, Malan’s watched engineering and the applied sciences slowly gain support from the Harvard community.
And Malan’s only helped the interest grow. He’s made all of his courses available on OpenCourseWare, and students can also find CS50 on edX.