Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Random Updates

Professor Magnet Hotel update (October 1, 2007 post)

I stayed again at the PMH and enjoyed my stay, as always. I recommended this hotel to some friends who were visiting the same city, and they recommended it to some friends, and this added to the professorial guest population. Even so, one of the very first hotel guests I saw, other than the people I knew, was.. a man wearing a graph paper shirt (October 3, 2007 post). After graph paper man had walked out of the hotel, one of my colleagues said “math professor”. I was thinking civil or mechanical engineering, but there is a high probability that he was a math professor.


That's Debatable update (October 2, 2007 post)

My students had their first in-class debate, and despite a few bugs, it went pretty well. I stopped the debate at one point so we could do a real-time assessment of how things were going and make adjustments so that the rest of the debate (and subsequent debates) went as well as possible. One student on each side was dominating the debate (a male student on the male-dominated team and a female student on the female-dominated team), but taking a break allowed the groups to ‘regroup’ and fix this in a gentle/diplomatic way. Several students suggested we should have a 10-minute pre-debate the week before the next debate. This will help the groups iron out any issues of terminology and to get a sense for the major issues that each side will emphasize. I think that’s a great idea.

I was impressed that when the debate reached the brink of becoming a bit hostile, the students found a way to calm things down and get the debate back on a polite and professional level. I was just about to intervene, but it was much better that the students solved the problem themselves, and did so very effectively.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sooo, I'm a female science graduate student and after the graph paper shirt post I realized that I buy graph paper shirts for my husband (but in different colors, not just blue and white)....how disturbing is that. Oh, and my husband is not in science. Thanks to me he is faking people out though.

Susan B. Anthony said...

A colleague of mine and I helped out with some local TV spots the other day, promoting a Halloween event at a science museum our department is affiliated with. Sure enough, he showed up wearing a graph-paper shirt. I had to laugh. (In fact, he just walked by my window, and he's wearing another one!)

Maybe we can clue in the cartoonists to start using these shirts instead of lab coats to identify scientists.

fruchtzwerg said...

the graph paper shirt thing doesnt work at my institution, somehow scruffy t-shirts dominate the scene... :(

Yami McMoots said...

I wonder if I could make money by designing a line of premium graph paper shirts based on log-log axes and stereonets, and selling them at major conferences...

Susan B. Anthony said...

yami, that's an awesome idea. Make some in polar coordinates too!

arun said...

Your idea of a debate in a science class is very interesting. I have never participated in a science debate before (other than conferences of course). I am very curious about the topic for your debate and points the students argued the most.