Questions tagged [learning]

Questions about learning process in academia, lesson plans, learning problems, etc.

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185
votes
15answers
22k views

How to stop hopping the learning chain and actually begin somewhere?

Here is what I feel whenever I find something interesting and feel like pursuing it : Oh so I like X (Computer Graphics), let me read up papers/books about it. Ok let me begin with reading up Y (...
115
votes
9answers
15k views

Asking questions in class: how can I “exit” a Q&A when I haven't really understood?

I'm an undergrad and I tend to learn better when I understand the concepts behind things instead of rote repetition. As a result of this, I often have questions. There are times when I don't ...
88
votes
22answers
31k views

What is the point of a lecture when you have a textbook?

I never really understood the point of having a course with lectures when the course has a textbook. Sometimes the subject is so high-level or specialized or so modern that the contents are changing ...
64
votes
13answers
20k views

What are the benefits of an oral exam?

A recent question about reducing stress in oral examinations asserted that Oral exams can have various pedagogical benefits in certain circumstances Based on the reputation of the poster I'm ...
52
votes
10answers
20k views

Is asking your PhD supervisor a basic question considered inappropriate?

I've done my Master's degree in Computational Mathematics. Then, because of several reasons, I decided to pursue my Ph.D. in the field of Quantum Chemistry. The problem is, obviously, my lack of ...
46
votes
8answers
10k views

How can I deal with being pressured by my department to pass students who failed?

Due to COVID-19, I have found myself teaching a course online. I worked with the university teaching center to transition the course online, prepared an online classroom, and updated the requirements ...
43
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6answers
4k views

What is the best way to retain learned materials

No matter who you talk to, students or professors, they all say that the materials they once learned can be quickly forgotten without further experiences that utilizes or enhances on that prior ...
34
votes
4answers
4k views

Do exercises in a theoretical reference book need to be solved when doing research?

I am a first year graduate student in a computational math program. Based on my background (I just finished a one-semester graduate real analysis course), instead of reading a specific textbook, my ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

Swiss cheese holes in my education. Do I go back and fill them?

In this recent blog post the author lists several interesting concepts he has discovered pertaining to learning. One thing he mentions is the following: Mastery is more important than passing ...
27
votes
13answers
9k views

How can I encourage students to ask questions in class

In my field (as in many others), students are assigned articles or textbook chapters to be read as preparation for classes (i.e. the whole class has to read the same set of texts). I encourage my ...
23
votes
6answers
3k views

Is it possible to do good research on a certain area through self-learning the state-of-the-art of the area?

I’m currently doing my masters in chemical engineering in a relatively unknown university here in the Philippines. For my master’s thesis, I am planning to theoretically model transport processes of ...
21
votes
5answers
10k views

Is solving all of the exercises in a textbook a good idea? [closed]

Is solving all of the exercises in a textbook a good idea? I'm particularly concerned with textbooks on mathematics. I have this obsession that I should solve all of the problems that a textbook has. ...
16
votes
12answers
8k views

The Ethics of Preparing for a Course Long Before Actually Taking it

I think this is an unspoken question in academia: how do you factor in the effort put forth by a student before taking your class? I think the answer to this question has several consequences: it ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Do researchers study topics outside their field for fun?

This question is partially inspired by this one. Do researchers, who actively publish, even have time for that? They seem to be a busy lot. I am not talking about publishing outside the filed, but ...
14
votes
1answer
379 views

Is there academic research that supports individual over group work for better learning?

I'm in an undegraduate program in the US where group work is a major focus in most classes. Faculty often cite the important benefits of knowing how to collaborate in teams, claiming how educational ...
13
votes
6answers
5k views

Discouraged by advisor to take courses, is there a way to navigate through this situation?

Graduate schools in North America usually have a required number of courses that you need to pass. Afterwards, the school is usually pretty flexible at the student taking more courses (and it is often ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Does more knowledge enhance your chance of doing better and 'original' research (in mathematics)?

NOTE: I had asked this question in here, in my edit, but since it is irrelevant to that question, I moved it here as it is a separate question... I chose to study bulky books instead of attending ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

How to keep one's focus during discussions, meetings and lectures

I noticed that I have more and more serious problems keeping focused, and despite my efforts to fix it the problem is just getting worse over time. When I'm in a research-related discussion with ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Leading an Academic “Book Club”

Short form: How should one lead a collaborative "book study group" amongst one's peers, particularly when the leader does not have deep prior knowledge of the book? Long form: I'm an undergraduate CS ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you convince students that it's OK to teach them “how to think?”

Often in a Calculus or Linear Algebra class, my students may ask - when am I ever going to use this? The answer I try to give them is "You're not. And that's totally OK. But you do need to learn how ...
12
votes
1answer
462 views

Are there any available studies on the effectiveness of “learning by teaching”?

There is a study which claims that "learning by teaching" has a 90% retention rate. However, the study is no longer available and it is not clear what kind of research was actually done to support ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

How can people with debilitating social phobias get through foreign language? [closed]

I almost didn't get my BS degree because I have never successfully tolerated a foreign language course. My most recent attempt was no exception. I paced about in front of the building trying ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Try exercises or look at the solutions for self-study

I am currently self-studying The Art of Computer Programming as an undergrad in my free time. To do all of the exercises (or even a portion of them) would be incredibly difficult and time-consuming; ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Where to continue my research-oriented studies after Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science?

I have a bachelor's degree in computer science. I am looking for an appropriate master program. I am interested in algorithms. My question is not about where I should continue my education. My ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

How to read textbooks like you listen a lecture?

When I hear a lecture, If the instructor is the kind I like, then I can easily understand what part of what I'm learning is important and the true crux of the ideas. Like I can pick it up from how the ...
11
votes
3answers
515 views

Online vs hard copy, which texts are students more likely to read?

I am wondering if anyone knows of any studies that indicate whether students read online texts more or less than hard copy texts. I am in the midst of trying to "reboot" the intro stats class I teach ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Skimming through a math paper with a group

I am an M.Sc. student in mathematics. I was recently invited by some Ph.D. students and Post-Docs (a group of 5 people, including myself) to join their study group. We are reading a specific text, ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Performance of the Toronto Paper Matching System (TPMS) for (conference) paper review assignment

[EDIT (2016-11-11) based on a comment] I have been invited as a reviewer for the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP 2016, on image processing, in a broad domain sometimes ...
10
votes
2answers
191 views

How can I get sufficient guidance from an advisor who's always travelling?

How can I get the most out of my advisor's knowledge if s/he's always travelling and out of office? We communicate by email, but I find it uncomfortable as I am new to the field I am working in and ...
10
votes
3answers
779 views

When teaching, which question types are effective for stimulating deep processing of the material in students?

In our university, we have a discussion about different question types to use in a module in our Electronic Learning Environment called 'self-tests'. We use this module to stimulate active processing ...
10
votes
1answer
173 views

Is there data or research on the tradeoffs associated with revealing how a student's grade on an assessment compares to the rest of the class?

We're building a teaching platform for projects, and one of the goals is to provide rich feedback to students concerning their performance. I'm fairly data-driven as a student and always appreciate ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How to improve self-learning as a PhD student?

As a doctoral student, you take some classes, but most of what you do needs material that you must gather from papers, conferences, and other sources. With limited possibilities for communication with ...
9
votes
1answer
151 views

Have there been studies about the effect of idle time vs time pressure in learning?

There is a discussion in our institute about how much of their time students should spend on lectures and homework. My own experience has been that idle time and wandering of the mind is necessary ...
8
votes
2answers
641 views

How to tackle papers filled with unknown vocabulary

Background I am having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around papers for my distributed systems class. I and two partners have to write a research paper, and we must cite around 20 research papers ...
8
votes
6answers
508 views

Should I take undergraduate CS classes if all I do is applied software dev and data science?

I am a PhD student in social science who got interested in programming via data analysis in R and various utility tools in Python, SQL, Java (for web scraping, data querying, etc.). I am considering ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

How to encourage students to attend and participate in class?

I have seen a shrinking trend in the number of students coming to my classes and suspect that it's due to the large number of digital tools that are available to students. What techniques can I ...
7
votes
2answers
445 views

How do I encourage learning to an underprivileged group

Some faculty members are required to perform service to the community. Providing free education that improve societal value is one of the many ways to deliver the service. However, we recently are ...
6
votes
2answers
543 views

Rote learning in South East Asia

I knew from some newspapers that Taiwanese education system prefers rote memorization over creativity. This culture was imported from Japan. This problem is also present in Singapore, Hong Kong, and ...
6
votes
5answers
187 views

Ways to display extra-curricular/independent learning

I am a mathematics student and have been extensively reading textbooks cover-to-cover in my own time. Thus, my transcript does not say that I have (for example) taken differential geometry, even ...
6
votes
1answer
194 views

How important is the academic staff to student ratio?

I've been looking at some universities abroad (I'm from Norway) like in Hong Kong (HKUST), but the academic staff to student ratio seems dreadful compared to others with 1:23. Still, people seem to ...
6
votes
1answer
648 views

Is it better to lecture with a board or a document camera?

I will be teaching my first class this fall. The course will be an undergraduate engineering course, so there will be some derivations and other math. I am trying to decide if I should present with a ...
6
votes
4answers
958 views

Is the correlation between learning a subject and having high grades strong?

I've found myself in a paradoxical situation. I have failed modules over and over, many modules, some modules more than once. One of the failed modules was introduction to computing. After passing it ...
5
votes
3answers
289 views

What is the best way to learn without thinking ahead?

I've run into this issue in many fields in which I'm interested in learning about. For the purposes of this question let's assume electricity/circuits/power systems. I find myself starting at the ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What could it signify if I find most forms of abstract math (e.g. Calculus) much easier than Physics, Chemistry, and so on? [closed]

I'm an undergraduate now, and am faced with a genuine lack of ability when it comes to Physics. Seeing how my peers react to lectures and catch on faster, it's clear that the issue isn't my professors,...
5
votes
3answers
201 views

Should I include extra information in quiz questions?

I'm curious about the pros/cons of including extra flavor text in quiz/exam questions. For example, which would be better? What is the product of this reaction? The following molecule is found in a ...
5
votes
1answer
235 views

Understanding the works of intellectuals

I'm a master's graduate in biology. I completed a thesis recently on 'Social science in the age of biology'. It discusses how social scientists and biologists approach and answer questions pertaining ...
5
votes
3answers
689 views

How to deal with math problems if there is no solution book and no helpful teachers?

Since a short time ago, I refuse to try solving math questions of which there is no solution available, unless I'm working on an own/open problem in my thesis. In subjects however, I refuse, because ...
5
votes
1answer
234 views

How not to forget things we learned?

I have been a postdoc for many years now in a theoretical field. Thus, while progress in my career has been slow, I am not without experience. There is one particular thing that I feel keeps limiting ...
5
votes
0answers
541 views

How to learn advanced math and statistics at my own pace? [closed]

I have not a very strong mathematical nor statistical background. This fact has not prevented me to work in a data analysis department because of my programming skills. I know the basics of important ...
5
votes
4answers
647 views

How can a would-be researcher overcome slow comprehension, obsession and poor communication skills?

I m a current master coursework student in engineering major and I’m planning to do a PhD after graduating from this course. I want to know how to become a qualified researcher. There are several ...