Theory note

Kevin Lim has published his notes from the Com Theory seminar. I’m really glad he took the initiative to do this, and it kicks off a lot of thoughts on my part:

* Why not put these on a wiki space so others in the class can add their own notes, make comments, etc.? I know that is another big step, but I think it would be a helpful one. You are welcome to use my wiki space (just go here and start a new page). To incentivize this, if most students make some changes to such a page, and it is a relatively complete set of notes, I’ll promise to draw most or all my exam questions from your extant notes. I think that is a pretty good deal.

* I think Kevin is the only one who took his notes directly to laptop while we were meeting (though Alex may have had a laptop up in some meetings, or someone?). I would have loved to have been able to have seen these notes as they were being taken. This would be so invasive that I doubt I would even suggest it, but there might be some middle road (e.g., require students to blog on some aspect of a lecture during or after the presentation). It would just help so much to know approximately what kinds of relationships students were drawing from the discussion, what kinds of things worked well, etc. It’s not quite, but pretty close to the best way of evaluating your teaching in near real-time.

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  1. Posted 11/14/2004 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    The thought of using a WIKI for collaboratively compiling sets of theories together did cross my mind too. You addressed a big problem I had, that is giving “immediate benefits” to wiki-ing. I think the complexity of it (does take a while to get it going) is presently a deterent. Once students get used to it though, we would end up with an impressive mini-wikipedia on comm theories which would rival that of other static theory web sites.

  2. Posted 11/14/2004 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    On the second point of in-class collaboration, we should really experiment with using SubEthaEdit as you mentioned in class before. The setup could include a few key note takers using Powerbooks/iBooks with a display of what’s collectively being typed projected on screen. Kind of like real-time performance art.

  3. Posted 11/14/2004 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I think it is really an interesting question why I did not bring my laptop to class. Actually, I have my laptop, and I also have planned to bring it to take note during class. But finally, I “do not have enough courage” to do so. It sounds strange, but it is interesting that I have heard many friends have the same response. I am still confused why I have this experience.

  4. Posted 11/14/2004 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Chheng Hong, your fear is understandable! A laptop can sometimes be seen as being disruptive in class. Thus, two things I did to overcome this included:
    1. Choose a small laptop (mine’s a 12″ Powerbook)
    2. Just bring it. Experience using it in class to overcome justify using it yourself. At the same time, get the class used to it too.

  5. Posted 11/14/2004 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Yep, I’d agree with both those. Actually, I think that the classroom is the killer market for tablets, because I was recently in a meeting where about half the people were using tablets and the other half were using laptops, and the tablets were far less conspicuous.

    Another part of that is that profs rarely model that behavior, because they usually aren’t taking notes.

    Finally, since we are in a school that doesn’t require laptops, and since not everyone has enough money to own one, I think people sometimes feel that they are being ostentatious by having them in class. I understand that, but really, why have a laptop if not to bring it to places like a seminar?

  6. Posted 11/15/2004 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to drop you a note that I wikified the class notes onto TheoryClassNotes. As a bonus, I also posted a wiki on your sample exam questions so everyone can post answers to them at TheoryExamQuestions.

  7. Posted 11/15/2004 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I wanted to bring my laptop (if it worked) but it’s a pain to carry around, it’s not light. Neither is my bookbag on Tuesdays since that’s when all my classes are. But typing would have been easier on the wrist than writing. And yes Kevin, I admire your very small, slim notebook. Ideally that’s what I’d like too.

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