Summary: §3.3 Teaching, Learning, and Learning Outcomes
§3.3.1 Teaching and Learning Methods
The standard format for mathematics courses is between two and four hours of
frontal lecture, taught by tenure-track faculty, and between one and two hours of
exercise sections, taught by graduate students. The teaching assistants are responsible
for assigning exercises in the course, posting them on the course website, collecting
and returning the homework. Some courses, in particular computing courses and
applied statistics courses, require work in the computer laboratories, but this is
generally self-scheduled by the students.
The frontal lectures are generally broken into modules composed of
1) Explanation and motivation of the topic.
2) Technical material: definition, theorem, proof.
3) Examples and summation.
Most mathematics professors and teaching assistants prefer to give their lectures
with markers on the white board rather than prepared on slides. The difficulties of
preparing technical text would make it very time consuming to prepare six or eight
hours a week of lecture on slides, time better spent on research. Furthermore,
experience has shown that the students are much more likely to take notes if the
professor is limited in the speed of his presentation by the speed at which he or she
can write on the board. Thus there is no pressure on the teaching staff to prepare