Along the Way

It has been a busy semester so far, but not a bad one at all. There are some exciting things I ought to update you on, but now is not the time as I need a different frame of mind to pull my thoughts together on those topics. We’ve got through Green functions in the graduate electromagnetism class, which meant that we’ve been playing with the retarded potentials and doing one or two fun things with them by way of examples. The group of students I have in class is really fun to work with, and they seem to like the class worksheets that I bring them to try out from time to time. They allow me to get the students into the habit of working on a specific example where they can see how to set up a coordinate system, interpret the general expressions we’ve derived in the context of a specific example, and solve it through to the end, interpreting their results, etc. It eats up a chunk of the (1 hour 50 minute) class time, but it is well worth it, since I think that they potentially learn a great deal here. I started doing class worksheets (discussed them here in fact) some years back now, in both (upper division) undergraduate and graduate classes as a supplement to just lecturing, and it seems to work pretty well.

Advertising continues for the USC Science Film competition. Several students have made inquiries, and so I hope this means that there’ll be several entries from a variety of teams by the registration date. I will appear as a guest in some classes across campus again today to directly tell students about the opportunity… The main thing I’m trying to get students to realize is that while it might seem so, it is not so super-hard to find team members on other programs (they are required to make interdisciplinary teams – part of my goal for what the competition is designed to do)… I and other faculty can help, but to do that we need to know that someone is looking… So let us know, and let us know in time! That latter is the main hard part. There’s this habit of leaving everything until the last minute, and then it gets harder to make a good connection in time, share some ideas, and construct a pitch for a film you might make. (For any students reading: One way of letting people know is to join the blog I set up where you can connect with other students. That is going along, a bit slowly, here.)

Ok, I’d better get my skates on and prepare for a very long day…

I’m out of time, but I was going to remind you about two things… Space Shuttle!! and Fractals!! I shall have to let you follow the links.


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3 Responses to Along the Way

  1. Vince says:


    I was just wondering how you incorporate the worksheets? Do you give them to the students and give them some time to work on them quietly, and then go over the answers? Do you hand them out and go over the problems with them? What kind of procedure do you use?

  2. Clifford says:

    Pretty much the former…. I hand it out and tell them to have a go. It is laid out in steps to help move forward in small goals…. And they are told that they can raise their hands if they get stuck…. That it is not a test so they can collaborate if they want to… Then every now and again I ask where they’ve got to… Trying to get every one at the same point before moving on… Sometimes I get everyone to see turns coming up to the board to show how they did the next step… And people can help out from the floor if they get stuck…etc…

    Mostly, I try to make it fun and instructive.



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