For a few years, I’ve been a fan of clickers (aka personal response systems) for large lecture sections. Clickers are a simple–and scalable–way to incorporate a little widespread active learning in the classroom. They can’t work miracles, but they do allow me to reward attendance, rouse the students once in a while, and give good feedback to all of us about how well the latest concepts are sinking in. I like the accountability: If you got the question wrong when 80% of the class got it right, that’s on you, but if 20% of the class got it right, that’s on me.
I just received a copy of SIAM News on a dead tree. It features a piece by Chris Johnson and Hans de Sterck about “Data Science: What Is It and How Is It Taught?” As usual in these articles, I find the specifics more interesting than the generalities of a panel discussion. I really liked this bit about the new program in Computational Modeling and Data Analytics at Virginia Tech: