teaching

SOLE Survivor
I recently finished my last term lecturing our secondyear Quantum Mechanics course, which I taught for five years. It’s a required class, a mathematical introduction to one of the most important set of ideas in all of physics, and really the basis for much of what we do, whether that’s astrophysics or particle physics or…

Oscillators, Integrals, and Bugs
[Update: The bug seems fixed in the latest version, 10.0.2.] I am in my third year teaching a course in Quantum Mechanics, and we spend a lot of time working with a very simple system known as the harmonic oscillator — the physics of a pendulum, or a spring. In fact, the simple harmonic oscillator…

meTube
Some time last year, Physics World magazine asked some of us to record videos discussing scientific topics in 100 seconds. Among others, I made one on cosmic inflation and another on what scientists can gain from blogging, which for some reason has just been posted to YouTube, and then tweeted about by FQXi (without which…

Teaching mistakes
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The academic year has begun, and I’m teaching our secondyear Quantum Mechanics course again. I was pretty happy with last year’s version, and the students didn’t completely disagree. This year, there have been a few changes to the structure of the course — although not as much to the content as I might have liked…

Quantum SOLE
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A couple of weeks I received the Student OnLine Evaluation (SOLE) results for my Quantum Mechanics course. There were only two specific questions, rating each of the following from “Very Good” through “Poor” (there’s a “no response” off to the right, as well): The structure and delivery of the teaching sessions The content of this…

Quantum debrief
A week ago, I finished my first time teaching our secondyear course in quantum mechanics. After a bit of a taster in the first year, the class concentrates on the famous Schrödinger equation, which describes the properties of a particle under the influence of an external force. The simplest version of the equation is just…

SOLE Survivor
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This week I received the results of the “Student OnLine Evaluations” for my cosmology course. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I thought that this, my fourth and final year teaching the course, had gone pretty well, and I was happy to see that the evaluations bore this out: 80% of the responses were…

Spring Break?
Somehow I’ve managed to forget my usual endofterm postmortem of the year’s lecturing. I think perhaps I’m only now recovering from 11 weeks of lectures, lab supervision, tutoring alongside a very busy time analysing Planck satellite data. But a few weeks ago term ended, and I finished teaching my undergraduate cosmology course at Imperial, 27…

End of Term
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I’ve just finished another term, in fact the heaviest teaching load I’ve ever had at once: a twentysix hour lecture course, three hours a week as one of several computer lab “demonstrators”, and another four hours or so per week in firstyear student tutorials. For those from outside of the Imperial system: our tutorials are…

Anonymous Comments
We get most of the official feedback on our teaching through a mechanism called SOLE — Student OnLine Evaluations — which asks a bunch of questions on the typical “Very Poor” … “Very Good” scale. I’ve written about my results before — they are useful, and there is even some space for adhoc comments, but…
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