Giving Lectures & Presentations in Graduate Classes (Commutative Algebra)†

Introduction to Commutative Algebra

Last Thursday, I gave my first lecture in a graduate  class of mathematics. There were three other students in that class, and the professor. All of the students were graduate students in Algebra. I was the sole person in Analysis. At first, this intimate setting was pretty daunting. I hadn’t taken the class last semester and the prof obviously didn’t like me being part of it¹.

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Using Powerpoint Presentations In Classrooms

My wife teaches university students and she really enjoys using Powerpoint presentations in class³. Most lectures by visiting scholars, as well as research, is usually presented with some kind of presentation. In the math world, it’s usually some Linux-based derivative.

I’ve been going to a class where the professor solely relies on using Powerpoint presentations. I have come to hate them. The reason is that the professor doesn’t understand how much time it takes for students to note down what they see on the slides. Sure, the presentation is made available later on the web, but I like taking notes. That’s how my learning process works. I know that most students work in similar fashion.

The professor shows a theorem, barely explaining it and the rushes through a demonstration. I haven’t even finished noting down the theorem when he’s already midway through the demo. It’s very annoying. The other extremely annoying fact is that the demos, or parts of them, vanish because animation is used in the Powerpoint. Extremely frustrating⁵.

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