Part 1 of this assignment is due on Monday of Week 4 and Part 2 is due Wednesday of Week 4 . Again, "submission" will just be creation of log entries and web pages, and also your in-class activities.

This week we are focused on independent learning (and teaching) of technical material.

Setting your weekly objectives

Before you begin, read through this whole assignment, as well as the assignment for Wednesday, and identify the tasks/objectives you will complete this week. Record these at the start of your log for the week. If your advisor has asked you to complete any additional tasks, include those as well.

Part 1: Learn about a technical topic

The assignment this week is simple: choose a technical topic that you feel you need to understand more about in order to better understand your research area. This can be any technical topic, for example:

  • How digital logic circuits work and how to design them
  • The basics of network packet routing
  • What is dynamic programming
  • The basics of neural networks

You should have already chosen topics in your assignment for last Monday, and coordinated them with your group, but if you want to change your topic at this point, that's OK as long as your coordinate with your group members. Two of you may research the same topic, but not more than two.

Once you have selected your topic, search the internet for resources to help you learn more about it. You can use any resources you find, but here are some suggestions:

  • Wikipedia
  • You Tube
  • Khan Academy and other open courseware
  • Books at the library (yes, physical books)

Document your learning process on your log, and create a page for your notes and ideas about the topic which is linked from your log.

Part 2: Prepare to teach your technical topic

In class on Wednesday you will teach what you learned to one other student in your group. You will have about 20 minutes for your teaching session. You should come prepared with the following:

  • A clearly defined topic that you will teach. What do you want your "student" to be able to know and do at the end of the session?
  • Explanations including visual aids (could be drawings on paper, or images printed or on your computer, or just the same material that helped you learn it, which you will explain more fully) that will help you teach the topic to your student
  • At least one exercise or set of problems or review questions that your "student" will perform or answer at the end of your session. You will use this to test how well they understood what you taught them, but it is also part of the learning itself.

Document your teaching plan and your review exercise/questions on your log before class.

The hardest part of this exercise will be getting specific enough that you can really dig in to something technical, rather than just a broad overview. You want them to really come away with a new skill or understanding that could help them understand the details of your research area better. (And of course you want this same skill for yourself. Teaching it is the best way to learn it!).

This assignment is somewhat open ended, so start thinking about it early, and come see me (email me to set an appointment) or email me with any questions or for help refining your area or finding resources.

Make sure you bring all of the materials you need to teach your topic to class on Wednesday.