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.
12 years ago