A way to achieve Excellence in Teaching – Make it Simple, Fun, Learning

2015 Nicholas Baxter | Log in | Website by Kim Maida
(nbaxtor.com)
1. Make it SIMPLE – FUN – LEARNING
1.1:   SIMPLE means do not use jargon. Even for the right terminologies wait until all the concepts are explained and then finally say that this is what is called ….
1.2:   SIMPLE means talk about the stories behind the concepts, rather than mathematics and symbols, until, finally one may end up saying why the equation of a certain type exists and what are the structural assumptions for the goodness of the process.  For example, not talking about the jargon “linear model” until the full story and various extensions of Galton’s data on father’s heights vs. son’s heights are well discussed. (Data and R codes here: http://blog.crmportals.com/2015/06/11/classic-fransis-galton-heights-of-fathers-and-sons-data-set-and-the-simple-regression/)
2. Make it FUN
2.1  FUN means they want to learn little bit more and they excitedly share what they learnt with their buddies.  Making it as team work to solve additional (the second example) problems is an example of making it fun; reducing the steps to simple parts so that they can predict what is the next step in expanding the understanding is a way of making it FUN
2.2  FUN also means they are happily interacting with the teacher and with other students
2.3  FUN also means they are ready to spend some extra time to make it more elegant, artsy, and demonstrative.
3.  Make it LEARNING EXPERIENCE
3.1 LEARNING EXPERIENCE means they can claim they know a way to solve a particular type of problem.  Students can see problems of similar types and expand their questions and or confirm their understanding, including caveats in expanding the scope of the solution.
3.2 LEARNING also means students can help other students
3.3  LEARNING also means they know how to articulate small creative extensions of the standard problem
With this in mind, we want to follow the following 1,2,3 methods.
1 – For each type of problem type
2 – there will be two problems solved in the class; first one as introduction of the problem by the teacher, and second one with a  class group(team) problem solving approach
3 – Additional third and more problems are given as home work with small variations only
(they may reach out to the faculty if they need help)
Exams problems are from the list but possibly with small variations in data/parameters.
At the end of each class, please get the feed back, 10 minutes before the class is over, whether every one understood the problem solving methods.  The 10 minutes is, possibly, to spend one more round of explaining slowly on how to solve the problem.
Overall, talk slowly and make sure you are logically walking with the student through the topics.
Towards this, we want to collect the top __ (40?) problem types in R programming, and __ (40?) problem types in BOSA.  I put more numbers in BOSA, because there are so many different concepts in this foundations course.  This will become part of our “Question Banks” as well as our “core problem types”
We want to submit these to the department at the end of the term as teaching aids and accomplishments, along with the Exam Papers/Quiz papers, their solutions, and grades.
I am looking forward to the “Problem types”/”Questions Bank” document.

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