Musings on teaching ?>

Musings on teaching

I will teach some new lecture courses this fall, and therefore I think a short review of my teaching over the past two years is in order. I’ve taught the module “Computational modelling in physics” twice in a row now, it’s a lecture and computer lab course for the first-year physics students. For some students, it’s the first time they actually program something, while others already have quite some experience when they start university. I introduced the students to Python via some interesting physics problems in both years (Python 2.7 in the first year and 3.1 in the second year, actually). I think it went well both times, and the student evaluations were positive both times with 4.44 out of 5 the first time around and 4.69 the second time. I don’t know what the standard deviation of teaching evaluations actually is in my department; but since my evaluations went up, not down, it is of course extremely tempting to think that the reason for that is my improved teaching… Things I did differently the second time: I made the course more challenging for the students; I asked more “why” questions in the Assignments the students had to hand in; I didn’t strictly follow the lecture vs. computer lab schedule, and rather showed some live programming during the lectures as well. Interestingly, the average grades I gave were lower the second time around, and still the students seemed to enjoy the course more. On the other hand, maybe it’s all just statistical fluctuations…

In the upcoming year I’ll teach computational physics for the third-year students, which should be quite interesting as well; especially since they are the students I taught in their first year back in 2015/16! So I know exactly what they *should* already know. Also, I’ll teach some astronomy (finally), also to the third-year students. It’s gonna be stellar structure and evolution, a.k.a. the basics of what I actually do in my research, so that should be fun as well.

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