23 February 2012

Drill and Rote in teaching LP and Hypothesis Testing

Drill and rote-learning are derogatory terms in many education settings. They have the musty taint of “old-fashioned” ways of teaching. They evoke images of wooden classrooms and tight-lipped spinsters dressed in grey looming over trembling pupils as they recite their times-tables. Drill and rote-learning imply mindless repetition, devoid of understanding. Much more attractive educational terms are “discovery”, “exploration”, “engagement”. Constructivism requires that learners engage with their materials and create learning by building on existing knowledge and experiences. But (and I’m sure you could see this coming) I think there is a place for something not far from drill or rote-learning […]
21 February 2012

No more lectures!

The lecture is the mainstay of higher education, but is it really a good way for people to learn? Here is a guest blog about my statistics course. In No more lectures I explain how my course, “Quantitative Methods for Business” uses Moodle to deliver self-paced learning materials in a blended course. This became especially useful after the Christchurch earthquake, which occurred a year ago today. Another interesting discussion about doing away with lectures can be found here: How to replace the lecture And here is another interesting description of four things a lecture is good for. Just like textbooks, the lecture needs […]
15 February 2012
Messy girl

Giving students dirty data

Dirty data is real data as it is collected before someone gets hold of it and takes out the tricky bits. You won’t find dirty data in textbooks. Dirty data is what real researchers have to deal with. And even amateur researchers and students doing real-life projects will have to deal with dirty data. Yet not much is said about dirty data, and what to do with it. Elements of dirty data Mistakes – people put down the current year for their date of birth, give their weight in the wrong unit, put an extra decimal point. Missing data – […]
10 February 2012

Effective multimedia teaching videos

I have converted lectures into considerably shorter videos that students view at their own time and pace, and as many times as they like. Hosted on YouTube, they are open to an international audience and have proved popular. Here are some tips that may be useful to other instructors interested in doing likewise. (Though teachers of statistics, Excel or linear programming are welcome to use ours!) Pictures and words As much as possible two channels, pictures and words are used. Narration and illustrations complement each other. There are no talking heads. There is considerable research regarding the effectiveness of multimedia […]
2 February 2012

Teaching Operations Research with food

What I like about Operations Research is its applied nature. It is mathematical and useful. We need to make sure that our students recognize that. As students have often had little experience in the world of business and manufacturing, it can be helpful to use examples based around food. Food is a universal topic. We all need food and most of us enjoy it and probably eat too much. For this reason food is a useful context to use in teaching. Linear programming diet problems The linear programming diet problem is an obvious starting place. For decades linear programs have […]