Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Taking the Class

Lest we forget, the students are over here to also take a required class in their programs at SUNY-ESF.  Dr. Scott is teaching PSE 370, Principles of Mass and Energy Balances to the five students.  We typically meet in the morning for lecture and discussion, take a break, and then meet for an afternoon session for questions and answers.  With the conclusion of this week, the class is now about half over:  The students have been given their first exam (a takehome exam for over the weekend) and will have an inclass exam on Monday. 


On several of the days, the class was joined by Chinese students from the South China University of Technology.  The Chinese students had various motives for sitting in on the class:  Some wanted to practice their English, some wanted to see how a US class was conducted, and one student was having his exam  in the same subject in two weeks.  I suspect that some felt obligated to attend because they were asked to by their professors.  It was interesting to see the interaction between the students and there were comments that they had a common language in mathematics and, of all things, calculus.

We also had a short discussion on the differences between classes in the US  in China.  In China, it is very common that the professor lectures for the semester and the entire grade for the class is determined by a single exam at the end of the semester.  I did ask our students if we should  adopt this method, but they seemed to want multiple opportunities to factor into their grade.

The class is going well and we will be moving it Xiamen for next week.  After a morning flight on Friday, we will enjoy the Xiamen area for the weekend (of course, the students will also be working on their exam).

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