Physics 190, 2015: Discussion Leaders

From Ilya Nemenman: Theoretical Biophysics @ Emory
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Back to Physics 190, 2015: Freshman Seminar: Where do laws of nature come from?

Leading an in-class discussion is a substantial part of your grade, and it is probably the easiest part of the grade, in terms of the return on investment. However, it still needs to be done right to get a full score. I expect the following from you when leading the discussions:

  1. A few days ahead of time, read/watch your assignment.
  2. Make a set of questions that you would like explained, and make an appointment with me and/or email me to clarify the things you don't understand.
  3. Make a list of important points that you think need to me made, and again discuss them with me as above.
  4. Reread the assignment after the discussion with me, and see if it has become clearer; update your questions and summary points.
  5. Make a short presentation (aim for 10-15 minutes) of what you found the most interesting in the text you are discussing, and what you don't understand. This should be more than just a few bullet points. Build your presentation from more expanded theses with your own summaries of the author's ideas.
  6. The morning before the class, when the reading assignments are due, I will send you the full list of submitted responses (without identifying information). Arrange the questions and the summary comments by topic, and sort these broad topics by priority that they deserve in your opinion. This takes me about half an hour before the class, and should take the same from you. Insert these summaries into your presentation.
  7. In class, start with your presentation of the material, and move to your own and the group's questions.
  8. Moderate the discussion -- try to get people to participate in it, explain if you think someone is making an error, and, in rare cases where it happens, cut off people who are talking more than their share.