A chat protocol for remote lectures
Due to the current coronavirus lock-down we're holding all our lectures remotely; currently via Microsoft Teams meetings. Students can see my presentation and me talking, and I can hear them, when they unmute their microphone. (By default they are muted to avoid noise and echoes.) What I thought I would miss is the lecture's interactions: the responses I get to questions I pose to the students, as well as students' comments and questions. We found out that such interactions can work quite well — at times better than in the face-to-face lecture — by following a simple interaction protocol.
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Chemical Element Trump Cards
I can still remember the weight of the Lancia Stratos car that featured
in the Top Trumps
cards were playing as children in the 1970s: 870kg.
It was the lightest of all the flashy cars in the set,
and therefore a much sought-after card.
Other card sets that kept us busy included airplanes, motorcycles, and tanks.
Through them we learned tens of useless trivia,
but also got a feeling of the compromises inherent in engineering.
Wondering whether I could leverage such a game to make it even more educational,
I created a set of trump cards containing properties of chemical elements.
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How I Dealt with Student Plagiarism
a colleague at the
NYU Stern School of Business,
received considerable media attention when,
in a blog post he subsequently removed,
he discussed how his aggressive use of plagiarism detection software
on student assignments poisoned the classroom atmosphere and
tanked his teaching evaluations.
As detailed in
a story posted on the Chronicle of Higher Education blog,
Mr. Ipeirotis proposes instead that professors should design assignments that
cannot be plagiarized.
Along these lines here are two methods I've used in the past.
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How to Get a Glowing Recommendation Letter
Students who do well in my courses often come to me asking for a
recommendation letter for graduate or postgraduate study.
I only write letters for students I know well
and I can honestly recommend, so some end up with a glowing
recommendation while others leave empty handed.
While I was drafting a few letters today,
it occurred to me that obtaining a good recommendation letter
is a lot easier if you've planned for it well in advance.
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The Information Train
The Information Train is a scientific
experiment that I presented at the
Wizards of Science 2009 contest over the past weekend.
The entry demonstrates how computers communicate with each other by
setting up a network in which a model train transfers a picture's pixels
from one computer to the other.
You can find
a video of the experiment
on YouTube, and, if you're interested, you can also download
the corresponding software and schematics from
this web page.
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The Changing Value of Knowledge and Skills
I feel we're witnessing a watershed in the value of knowledge and many,
once crucial, skills.
Thanks to powerful ubiquitous computers and the internet,
hard-earned knowledge and skills that used to be important are no more.
Here are some examples.
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In Presentations Less is More
A couple of months ago I prepared the slides for a paper I will present
30th International Conference on Software Engineering.
After reading Garr Reynolds's book
Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design on Presentation Design and Delivery
I became enlightened, and I decided to redo the presentation from scratch,
creating less cluttered, more focused, and simpler slides.
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Preparing for the Exams
The (retake) exam period has started.
At the metro the passenger sitting opposite me is obviously a student
frantically sorting the cards containing a 6%-reduced photocopy of her forensic
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Involving Students With Open Source Projects
A Slashdot story titled
OSDDP: Involving Students With Open Source Docs
prompted me to describe my experiences with the
Software Comprehension and Maintenance
course I am teaching.
The reactions from the—difficult to please—slashdot crowd
were surprisingly positive and friendly.
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