[EAS] Ideas for How To Teach

Peter J. Kindlmann peter.kindlmann at yale.edu
Fri May 17 21:56:14 EDT 2013

Dear Colleagues -

You may know of Sanjoy Mahajan's concern about teaching. His course 
on teaching, in MIT's admirable Open CourseWare series (see below), 
has good material. He experiments, vide his book on teaching math 
(with foreword by Carver Mead) 
A quote from a review shows how much more relevant this is to much of 

"In problem solving, as in street fighting, rules are for fools: do 
whatever works--don't just stand there! Yet we often fear an 
unjustified leap even though it may land us on a correct result. 
Traditional mathematics teaching is largely about solving exactly 
stated problems exactly, yet life often hands us partly defined 
problems needing only moderately accurate solutions."

This is very much what engineering design is all about. There seldom 
are cost functions one can differentiate. And solutions often form 
clusters of satisfactory answers the further distinguishing among 
which is uneconomical. (This aspect of engineering even engaged the 
Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon.)

Another link about Mahanjan 
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CdbBHzw8yQ> worth looking at.

All best,  --Peter

from  http://scout.wisc.edu/Reports/ScoutReport/2013/scout-130517

Teaching College-Level Science and Engineering

How does one teach science and engineering at the college level? It can be
a daunting question, particularly for newly minted PhDs, but this rather
fine course from the OpenCourseWare initiative at MIT offers high-quality
suggestions. The site includes a syllabus, calendar, readings, video
discussions, assignments, and other related resources. In the Syllabus
area, visitors can learn about the basic lesson plans for the course. The
Readings area has some great material, including sections on Teaching
Equations, Course Design, Lecture Planning and Performing, and Political
Barriers To Educational Change. Visitors should look over the Video
Discussions area, which includes conversations with Professor Sanjoy
Mahajan about the material. Finally, the site includes links to helpful
books and other materials that will be most useful for those seeking
further edification.

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