IBL Presentations

We just had our third presentation day in complex analysis. So far, things are mostly going well. The document camera is working very well now, and is saving a lot of time; we can do about eight presentations in fifty minutes.

I am still looking for a way to increase audience discussion (which would reduce the amount of presentations we could do). Most presentations have no questions following them. However, whenever there is a mistake, we have picked up on it. My best guess is that there are no questions because people generally understand the presentations. Students tend to work on the same problems, and—in many cases—work together to solve the problems. Also, the content for the first two presentations was not been terribly difficult.

That said, I threw \delta\epsilon proofs at them yesterday. Only two of the students have had real analysis, although I think that most of the students probably have seen them in our Introduction to Proofs course (although I am not certain—we have a lot of physics majors in this class). But students did remarkably well figuring out how to do them. I will ask them next time why they were so successful.

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9 Responses to “IBL Presentations”

  1. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    Don’t they get δ-ε proofs in their intro calculus class? I did 40 years ago, and my son has had a number of them in his first calculus class this year.

    • bretbenesh Says:

      It really varies. They were not necessarily taught in each of my last three institutions, and in some cases were discouraged from being taught. But I don’t really know. I will ask them on Monday. Bret

  2. Joss Ives Says:

    Bret I have the exact same problem with students not asking questions for this format.

    I am very happy to report that students are asking lots of questions in my Advanced Lab course after presentations. This is one where we have “research group” meetings each week and each group reports on what they accomplished the previous week and what they hope to accomplish in the next week. I’m usually getting 2-3 questions after each presentation. Part of this is because a very small part of their grade comes from participation in these meetings. But I also divided the class into two larger research groups where each individual project team is working on their own project, but some other team in the research group is working on a project that has similarities. Or in some of the cases, one of the teams is working on a project that another team will be moving onto for their second project. So all the project teams have some tangible reason to engage with most of the other projects in their research group and as a result are engaging in asking questions.

    How do you accomplish something similar in your case? Perhaps give individual students or groups extended versions of the questions so that they can provide a little extra insight that will be beneficial.

    • bretbenesh Says:

      Hi Joss,

      In fact, I think that you warned me about this before this semester!

      I am trying to figure out if I should do something. I think that there is a chance that no intervention is needed, since the class is generally doing well (by other measures) and there are questions and comments when things are actually wrong.

      This might be dangerous, but I might just use the wait-and-see approach. Things will get harder at mid-semester, and I can switch things up there if needed. Bret

    • Joss Ives Says:

      I think it really comes down to deciding on your pedagogical purpose for wanting the students to ask each other questions. It seems like a productive skill to help them develop and can be an indicator for student engagement, but does not seem critical in the success of your course. My experience with a similar setting to yours is that the students don’t want to make each other look bad and so they don’t challenge each other much because they don’t want to be challenged themselves.

      In the case of my Advanced Lab, they are presenting from the moment they start the experiment and so they fully accept that they will be lucky if they can answer even the most basic questions initially. And my expectation is that part of preparing for the next meeting will be to try to answer those questions.

      • bretbenesh Says:

        Hi Joss,

        I only want them to ask questions if they do not understand. One of the main reasons to have students present is precisely because they are NOT experts, and the other students are more likely to doubt them than me.

        Your lab sounds interesting. You have them present on stuff they do not know? I think that this could be valuable, if done right. Bret

      • Joss Ives Says:

        In the first week working on a project they are still in the middle of putting the pieces together (How does the equipment work? What is the underlying physics for the experiment? What is the underlying physics for the equipment? What exactly is our research goal? What do our experimental procedures look like? Etc.). So the first week that they get up there, they typically show a picture of their apparatus and try their best to explain how the apparatus works and what they are ultimately going to measure. In this environment they are so aware of how little they know about the new project that the regular pretense of having a firm grasp on their presentation topic evaporates. Instead the presenters will often interrupt their own presentation to ask me questions. I love being able to watch as the pieces are slowly assembled.

      • bretbenesh Says:

        You are pulling off the amazing task of making physics labs sound cool 🙂

  3. How my students learned to do delta-epsilon proofs « Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] Solvable by Radicals Just another WordPress.com weblog « IBL Presentations […]

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