Archive for September, 2013

Thursday, 5th September, 2013

From the Big Bang to Dark Energy

This week a course I have signed up for has started – From the Big Bang to Dark Energy.  This was noted on my goals for the year post as;

an update on these topics for my teaching and curiosity, an experience of a MOOC, an interaction with some people from a local university, the possibility of a shared learning experience with colleagues and maybe some students.

There are at two teachers and at least two students with an interest in having a go. Hopefully all will continue and this will give a good opportunity to evaluate.

Yesterday I went through the first week’s work. It took a while to go through the videos, but the topics were familiar ones for me so this was a gentle introduction. I felt the lecture part was pretty good, though I think I would have approached some of the simpler ideas differently. The 90 minutes was well divided up into manageable chunks and it was easy to take notes from what he presented. There were follow up homework assignments. These came in three levels. The first was quite basic and accessible, which is great because I think many students could achieve this easily if they have followed the lectures. The second level required some computation and analysis and was more challenging, with only one question beyond IBDP level. There was a third optional set which was a big step up and I didn’t complete. The problem here for me was rusty maths skills for the most part.

I will send out a message to the other YIS participants and see if we can get a short face to face meeting because I would love to know how others are finding it.

A big feature is the discussion forum which seems very active. Rumor has it there are 39,000 people signed up, so it is kind of surprising that it is not more active. I didn’t make use of this but it might be interesting to see if there is anything there that would help me through the advanced problems.

I am looking forward to the next week, though it is challenging to find the time.