Questions tagged [graduate-education]

For questions related to studies for graduate or more-advanced students and courses.

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37
votes
6answers
4k views

What am I supposed to be learning with long proofs of the main theorems in class?

It seems like this is exclusively how (most) people teach graduate/upper div math classes. They go through the proof of some big theorem, sometimes it might take two lectures. It's obviously important....
32
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3answers
3k views

What happened to the Moore method?

I always read about the Moore method with great enthusiasm. Somehow I always felt that it should be how we do it in an ideal world, but it is impossible to use because of time and other constrains. ...
24
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4answers
2k views

What are some good examples to motivate the implicit function theorem?

I always had problems when teaching the implicite function theorem in advanced analysis courses. This result is motivated by later applications, but it would be great to be able to provide easily ...
22
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2answers
1k views

Teaching and “The Two Cultures”

This is a rather broad (and perhaps too philosophical) question about undergraduate and graduate mathematics education. Gowers, in his article "the two cultures of mathematics", observes differences ...
20
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3answers
2k views

What are the differences between graduate and undergraduate classes, relevant to course design and teaching?

I will be a postdoc in the fall and will be teaching my very first classes aimed at graduate students. One will be an intro class, and the other a topics class. There are of course many differences ...
20
votes
2answers
250 views

Pressure vs. Laissez-faire: Literature dealing with balance in university-classes

I am seeking for some pedagogical literature dealing with the following question: Imaging you have an average class in college/university: What is a good balance between Laissez-faire and pressure? ...
18
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7answers
6k views

How do I learn advanced mathematics without forgetting?

I am pursuing mathematics through distance education and I find that it takes me a long time to understand the concepts (e.g. sigma fields, measure theory, connected topological spaces, etc.). After I ...
18
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3answers
612 views

How can I discourage proof by patchwork?

I have a student who is working in their spare time on proving or disproving a conjecture of the form $$\exists x.\forall y.\phi(x,y).$$ Right now their strategy is to construct an $x$ and then show ...
17
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2answers
688 views

Flipping (or not) a large graduate class

I teach a graduate class in algorithms. Students take this class primarily as a breadth requirement in grad school, and they are a mix of MS and Ph.D students in computer science. Most students taking ...
16
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1answer
241 views

How to improve atmosphere in male-dominated courses

I'm teaching a graduate applied mathematics qualifying exam review course this summer, and I have 9 males and 1 female. My co-instructor and I are also both male. While I don't necessarily see this ...
15
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2answers
189 views

How to choose/test future tutors?

When I have to give a big lecture with a lot of exercise groups, I have to choose the tutors who are grading the student's homework and explaining the lecture to the students. How can I find out if ...
14
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8answers
795 views

Teaching advanced math using books with cartoons

Could an effective and 'comprehensive' course on advanced math be taught through a series of fun comic books, say a fun and adventurous series of stories each exploring advanced math principles ...
14
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3answers
619 views

The interplay of memory and mathematical performance

As mathematicians and mathematics educators we very often see the Dunning-Kruger effect in action. Our calculus students are certain that they are masters of Calculus because they took the AP exam. To ...
14
votes
2answers
485 views

Is there any research on the correlation between a professor's research ability and their ability to teach graduate level courses?

In most universities that I am aware of, graduate courses in Mathematics are taught almost exclusively by research mathematicians. My question has two parts: What is the justification for this ...
13
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8answers
2k views

What is gratifying in being a mathematics teacher?

I think the title says it all, but in case it does not: Is being a math teacher gratifying? If yes, what is gratifying in being a math teacher? (If not, why...) Does the feeling lasts, or perhaps ...
13
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3answers
1k views

Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching

Does anyone know of any course called Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching? Where is this course taught? If it's not a course, is there any workshop about this? Or possible a book? It's not knowing ...
13
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3answers
267 views

Using Several Textbooks in a Course

Sometimes a teacher prefers to use several textbooks in his/her courses because he/she thinks the arguments of each book is better in a part of course material or there is no comprehensive textbook in ...
13
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3answers
746 views

How to design a fair oral exam for >10 students?

Oral exams take place at two different points in during their study: As final examination to end their study (i.e., when the students have finished all necessary courses, they have an oral exam ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Does learning classical approach to differential geometry before modern approach help or hinder?

To my mind, there seem to be two main paths to differential geometry. There is the classical approach, focusing on curves and surfaces in $\mathbb{R}^n$, especially $\mathbb{R}^3$. Prerequisites tend ...
13
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1answer
197 views

Question about the process of creation of problems and exercises in Mathematics

I have a question about formulating problems and exercises in Mathematics. When attempting to create a problem of Number Theory or Real Analysis, for example, in this process, is the problem first ...
12
votes
3answers
396 views

Should one ask questions directly to specific students in a lecture or exercise group?

In the question Encouraging class participation there are some answers how to encourage class participation in general. Sometimes, there are some smaller lectures (in particular in graduate courses) ...
12
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4answers
6k views

Mathematics Education Graduate Program List and Rankings

U.S. News and World Report publishes school rankings for many different disciplines, including mathematics. Is there any ranking for mathematics education graduate programs? Weaker question: Is there ...
12
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3answers
233 views

Quizzes (with questions known in advance) instead of homework in a graduate mathematics class. Good Idea or Bad Idea? Pros and Cons?

I'm teaching a graduate course in mathematics next semester. I'm planning to have a midterm and a final exam. But I'm thinking about having weekly (or once-every-two-weeks) in-class quizzes instead of ...
11
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3answers
210 views

Introducing (Borel) measures via Riesz representation theorem

I think, the most standard way is to introduce measures in real analysis is to define them via the usual properties like $\sigma$-additivity, etc. However, if the students are familiar with ...
11
votes
1answer
227 views

How to design exercise groups in very advanced course?

In very advanced courses, typically there are only a few students attending and sometimes they are not willing to put so much efford into the course to participate or to pass an exam. So I made the ...
11
votes
2answers
171 views

Transitioning from 'Read textbook to learn' to 'Read original paper/Read paragraphs of textbooks'

I wanted to ask the following on Mathematics stack exchange, but checking the help centre, it appears that this site is more relevant: "Mathematical education, especially about teaching and pedagogy: ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Are students majoring in pure mathematics expected to know classical results in mathematics very well by their graduation?

For example, I am confident that very few students majoring in pure mathematics can write a complete proof to the Abel–Ruffini theorem (there is no algebraic solution to general polynomial equations ...
10
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7answers
2k views

Galois Theory: necessary?

I noticed the discussion of whether the teaching of Galois Theory is necessary on MathOverlflow. Here at LSE, everything we teach in mathematics should have some application to the social side of life....
10
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2answers
203 views

When to encourage students to read mathematical literature written in English (in non-English speaking countries)?

There is a lot of mathematical literature in some non-English languages (French, German, Spanish, etc.) that students from these countries don't need to read English literature (at least) for their ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Mathematics in UK vs Central Europe

Is mathematical education better outside UK and USA? Studying in UK I noticed that the Uk syllabus of 3-4 modules per area of mathematics, is often easily covered by one module in central Europe, for ...
9
votes
5answers
451 views

What to do if there is a disagreement on fundamentals, e.g. axioms or inference rules?

Sometimes it happens that a person doesn't want to accept your argument, because he claims not all the inferences are valid. There's a famous example of Lewis Carroll, namely What the Tortoise Said to ...
9
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3answers
684 views

MacLane-Birkhoff's “Algebra” vs Jacobson's “Basic Algebra I,II” vs Lang's “Algebra”

(Cross-posted at Math.Stackexchange) I'm searching for an apt textbook(s) on Abstract Algebra for a very advanced undergraduate/graduate level course in Algebra, and would be grateful for any help. ...
9
votes
1answer
199 views

What courses should be a part of a Mathematics Education degree program?

I had asked the title question in an answer here, but it didn't get any recognition, so I'm posing it formally. The key word in the question is should. In my Mathematics Education degree education, I ...
9
votes
1answer
164 views

Learning modulo sticking points, or “fluid study” in mathematics

In graduate school I once tried to rapidly learn mathematics by working through a text and collecting (and precisely remembering) where I had been stuck, and what parts of arguments or computations I ...
8
votes
3answers
197 views

Evaluating textbooks in math and physics

I’m currently interested in textbooks, especially the ones in math and physics that are used at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels and, given the experience of the people on this ...
8
votes
3answers
928 views

A4 paper of notes in an exam

What are the effects of allowing students take one paper, say of A4 size, full of whatever they want, into an exam? It might be called a cheat sheet or something similar. Students might write it by ...
8
votes
2answers
167 views

How much prior math should I review in teaching a graduate-level course?

I am scheduled to teach a graduate-level course in engineering whose basis is in the solution of ODE’s and PDE’s, and thus is about halfway between a math course and an engineering course. We ...
8
votes
1answer
87 views

Assessing the level of students in a class

Recently I've moved to another university and next semester I will have my first class there. The problem is that I don't know the level of the students that will be attending my class. Of course, I'...
8
votes
0answers
470 views

Can Compare and Contrast be used in Mathematics Teaching and Research?

I happen to be a fan of the "theme and variations" approach to problem solving. In certain cases, a certain question had drawn enough to attention to generate dozens of solutions. Ways to Prove the ...
7
votes
3answers
179 views

References on British, German and French educational system

I'm writing a comparative study between mathematical teaching in my country (which sucks by the way) with others. However, I don't want to make it about today, globalization gives us a good notion of ...
7
votes
2answers
402 views

How much more skilled in the topic should you be in order to teach the topic?

For sake of argument, consider that skill of a topic is spectrum from "new and learner" to "experienced and expert." Where should you relatively be in order to teach the topic ...
7
votes
3answers
197 views

References for graduate education

A search in Google returns lots of studies and thinkings about teaching in undergraduate schools. Could anybody come up with any research/references about teaching in graduate schools (graduate ...
7
votes
1answer
462 views

Why is multivariable analysis often omitted?

Related but not duplicate: What courses require multivariable analysis? By multivariable analysis I mean the rigorous version of multivariable calculus (something equivalent to Ch.9-10 in baby Rudin ...
7
votes
2answers
217 views

A Question about Theodore Frankel's “The Geometry of Physics”

Locked up in my self-distancing isolation in NYC, I'm reminded of how much I really like Frankel's book, which contains a wealth of beautiful geometry and topology from the standpoint of a ...
7
votes
1answer
170 views

The role of visualization and intuition in graduate and postgraduate math and developing it

[I am not an mathematics educator; but because the process of learning is educating yourself, I'm posting it here] In Visual Complex Analysis's preface, the author gives an analogy with pseudo-deaf ...
6
votes
1answer
96 views

Data on textbook adoptions in universities (math/science)

Does anybody know if there is a website/database/... on textbooks adoption in the US or some other country? (math/science textbooks) It would be interesting to see which textbooks are (and have been) ...
6
votes
1answer
258 views

How to propose subjects for bachelor's theses?

I have recently ended up in a position where I can supervise bachelor's and master's theses, and there has been some discussion in my research group of organizing thesis supervision within the group. ...
5
votes
3answers
344 views

L'Hopital's Rule: Why do we need it?

I'm preparing a design/teaching experiment for my Curriculum Design Course right now. I've decided to cover L'Hopital's rule with a student I've been working with for a year, so skill wise he's ready ...
5
votes
2answers
135 views

How can one deal with classes split up (in terms of previous knowledge)?

Imagine a class which is split completey regarding previous knowledge which is in some way needed for the class. How can you deal with such a class? How can you - without giving too much workload to ...
5
votes
2answers
58 views

How to schedule a seminar (weekly based vs. one big meeting) to maximize learning?

You want to host a seminar where students will present either a chapter from a book, or a (part of a) scientific article. What is the best way (=such that the students learn as much as possible from ...