I want to do a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and want to get into core research building Super Intelligent Systems. What courses would you recommend taking up in Masters that would help in getting a PhD.
Some of the course options that usual Masters Degrees offer are Cognitive Computing, Advanced Statistics Courses(Mathematics), Advanced Database Design, Cloud Computing, Introduction to Big Data, Computer Vision. Is it better to go the Mathematical Background or go for courses like Computer Vision and Is it absolutely necessary to take Advanced Database Design course? Thanks in advance.

I am struggling to work out how good my presentation of material is in lectures I’m currently doing. I’ve done many lectures in the past, and I’ve typically received good feedback. I’m now teaching subjects I haven’t taught in the past.

Usually I can look at the audience and ascertain that they are (mostly) engaged.
At the moment I’m not getting that however. People are looking at their devices, look sullen, or appear to be more interested in talking with one another than the contents of the lecture. Nobody asks any questions (though I’ve repeatedly encouraged them to do so). I’ve left a form online (anonymous) for people to ask questions (or leave comments) and nobody has used it.

Maybe the material is just really easy to understand? I’m somewhat limited to what extent I can even change the scope of the course, even if I wanted to. But trying to ascertain what is too easy or difficult is nontrivial anyway, and I’m aware that the audience is mixed. I’m concerned about rushing through material and finding out later that people didn’t adequately understand what was being taught. The appreciation that people may potentially not like the content of the lectures has made me somewhat nervous during lectures – it makes it more difficult to speak clearly, coherently, and certainly articulately. This almost certainly impacts on the quality of the lecture, and so is a vicious circle.

What can I do to try and gauge how well I’m currently doing, without finding that people simply complain when the course is over (or alternatively heap praise, which, though I believe is highly unlikely, would mean that I’m currently experiencing much unneeded stress? ) It’s left me feeling more than slightly despondent – to put in hours and hours of work only to feel that people would rather not hear me speak at all: and probably get the same sort of rating regardless of the amount of work on my part. For what it’s worth turnout is mixed (50-65% on average, which is about typically for most courses), but students are likely to be in the area anyway (having other courses to attend) so they’d probably have to make an active decision not to turn up if they really wanted to avoid this particular course.

I regularly use a short start/stop/continue-survey on my students to be able to improve my teaching skills. I get a lot of informative data that helps me, but there’s a lot of work involved in digging that information out by hand.

Does anyone have any best practice recommendations on how to handle open-ended feedback?

Is there a way of using text analytics to show points of strong consensus?

I am teaching some programming topics to university students (some 300+) including python, sql etc. I would welcome some tips on what’s the best way to assess the students and also avoid giving them the chance to copy each other.

So far the major piece of assignment, e.g., in SQL, is to give them a scenario describing an information system, explaining what are users, types of data, relations etc. And they are asked to use sql to implement a database, populate some data, and perform some queries.

The problem with this is that the correct solution is quite standard, so it is often the case that students submit same or very similar solutions. This itself may not be the problem, but combined with the factor that the large majority of the cohort gets very high grades (>70%), I fear that they are copying, but I cannot think of an easy way to find out, or address this.

Does anyone teach similar technical subjects and if so, how would you suggest to fix this?

Many thanks!

In a previous test one of my TAs discovered a fraudulent pattern in six of the exams. The answers were uncomfortably similar, actually identical in many places. I called the students to my office and brought two colleagues to help me “interview” them individually (ask them questions about the test, gauge their level of knowledge about the subject, …)

One of the students reacted very explosive at my one and only question: “Could you please tell me how you solved ‘problem 2’? He told me he felt threatened by the question and that I had no right to ask him questions after the exam. To what I reply: “do you or do you not know?”

At that point things spiraled very fast out of control, he reacted violently, stepping out of the office while muttering some insults. I tried to calm him down but he got only angrier and the color of his words became reader. After seeing this, the other students refused to continue the interviews with my colleagues and left.

I definitely don’t know if I should have approached the situation in a different way. Should I make them repeat the exam? Start a disciplinary process?

EDIT (Jan/09/18):

In case of suspected misconduct I should bring the case, along with evidence, to the Dean. He then reviews it and decides whether to bring it to the Academic Council or stop it there. They ultimately have the power to decide what to do. However, almost a year ago a colleague also faced a situation that involved fraud during a test, and the Dean decided to not do anything because the potential punishment for the student would be too harsh (he might be expelled)

In a previous test one of my TAs discovered a fraudulent pattern in six of the exams. The answers were uncomfortably similar, actually identical in many places. I called the students to my office and brought two colleagues to help me “interview” them individually (ask them questions about the test, gauge their level of knowledge about the subject, …)

One of the students reacted very explosive at my one and only question: “Could you please tell me how you solved ‘problem 2’? He told me he felt threatened by the question and that I had no right to ask him questions after the exam. To what I reply: “do you or do you not know?”

At that point things spiraled very fast out of control, he reacted violently, stepping out of the office while muttering some insults. I tried to calm him down but he got only angrier and the color of his words became reader. After seeing this, the other students refused to continue the interviews with my colleagues and left.

I definitely don’t know if I should have approached the situation in a different way. Should I make them repeat the exam? Start a disciplinary process?

A job posting for an assistant professor job at a liberal arts college in the United States requires that I include a “Comprehensive summary of teaching evaluations” with my application.

What exactly is this (or does this mean)?

Do I include summaries from each of my previous 15 semesters of teaching individually? Do I split evaluations up by course? Do I just include the most recent year(s)?

Do I create a new summary combining all evaluations I have ever received?

Some previous courses are just 25 copies of individual responses (sometimes short answer sometimes scale-ratings) and other times they include a summary of that given semester’s course. Do I just use the school-generated summaries or do I compile my own?

Do I include just evaluations for courses relevant to the job posting or any course evaluations?

Is this a general type of request, or something that only this school will “define”?

This question is more specific than one that I asked previously here, which hasn’t gotten significant response anyway.

It’s end of term. If you’re teaching faculty, it means you’ve gotten your student evals. We can’t be the only ones trying to decide whether, how or how much to share our student evals, e.g., by posting them to the entire class.

Arguments in favor relate to openness and accountability, that it’s helpful for students to know that we take their feedback seriously, that we listen to what they say and take it as important. We’re accountable, just as they are. It also gives them a check on their feelings: How did their experience compare with others and how much responsibility lies where?

Arguments opposed relate to confidentiality and privacy, that the surveys were intended to be anonymous and that some of the written comments might be more identifiable than intended if the student knew the comment would be shared, so that at most, only the aggregated numeric data should be shared. Also, if one instructor shares, that may create unwelcome pressure on their colleagues to share feedback they regard as private.

How are other faculties weighing these issues? Are you having this discussion?
Is there anything close to a consensus or a best practice emerging? Has your institution given you guidance?

So I just read my evaluations for this past semester, and they are absolutely horrible. The worst I’ve ever gotten. I put so much effort into teaching, but almost nobody thinks I did a good job. Do you think this will prevent me from teaching next semester? I have a 9-month renewable instructor position that goes through the Spring but I’m really worried.

Someone I know has recently submitted a course evaluation form in which he complained about how poorly the unit was organized and that the lecturer didn’t seem to be well prepared for the class. Following the day this course evaluation form was submitted, the lecturer decided to revise the mark he has received for his final project and marked him down. Is this an odd coincidence or are course evaluations not really confidential?