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Potpourri

Message Number: 
10

(3/23/98) 

Folks: 

Here is a potpourri of comments from readers on some the earlier messages: 

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? On, "The World of Our Students," (Msg # 9), Brandt Keho, interim associate provost at California State University, Fresno comments: 

"One of the side effects of: " Manned flights to the moon are ancient history to them," and the familiarity of the space shuttle is the sense that there is no gravity away from the earth - students have seen things floating in the shutt le and if asked about an object released by an astronaut on the surface of the moon most, including students in physics classes, will predict that it floats. Have some of your colleagues test this at Stanford." 

? On, "Class Preparation Time," (Msg. #8), Jami Shah, professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Arizona State University writes: 

"One point seems to have been missed. Lecture preparation depends on what subject you are teaching. If I was teaching thermodynamics or statics I would not need to spend much time updating my lectures. But I teach many computer related subjects. T he languages, tools, applications, techniques are constantly changing. Every year I teach these classes I have to update just about everything- including homeworks and projects. This is not a matter of choice- just a reflection of the pace of development. Personally, I find that I cannot go talk about something in class unless I have played around with it first hand. I have to try new programs, write code, etc. before I can include it in the lecture. This is VERY time consuming. And this is also where the re is some difference between research and teaching. In my research projects, my grad RAs write all the code- I only work with them on the approach and core issues." 

? On "Leveraging," (Msg. #7), William Bickel, professor of physics at the University of Arizona notes: 

"I taught the same course every fall semester for 31 years. To me it is still interesting. To the students it is still useful. During that time I have also taught other courses but regardless of what they were - or how many - I always taught that one." 

Hau Lee, professor of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management at Stanford University comments: 

"You can also leverage your research through consulting, although this approach is usually best left for after you have tenure. I try to develop a teaching case or find other ways to integrate the material into my courses. Often I am able to wri te an application paper from the work I do, sometimes with a coauthorship from someone in industry. In addition, I can usually find ways to extend the work I did with industry and the data they provide me with, by stimulating doctoral students to work on such problems in their dissertation research." 

Finally, 

? With respect to "Warm-up Time", (Msg. #6) Al Kamil, of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln says: 

"I find that another useful thing to do about the warm-up effect, especially with papers, is to leave the project at a point where the next step is easy rather then leaving it when stuck (which tends to be a hard point). This way, it is easier to get momentum when returning to the project." 

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Please feel free to send your comments, suggestions, and ideas to me at: (Reis@stanford.edu). Looking forward to hearing from you soon. 

Regards, 

Rick Reis