A friend of mine recently sent me a game he made as part of his coursework and asked me to make a Youtube video of it. He was supposed to get 3 people to do the same in order to get better a better grade.

I’m happy to help my friend out this once but this is concerning for me because the professor asks non-enrolled people to do gradable work. Even if the ‘external dependencies’ are willing to do the work, they might not be able to due to other commitments, which could conceivably put unnecessary strain on the relationship.

I was told the video can be a short, 1 minute video, with you talking mentioning the title but the amount of work required isn’t the point; the point is that any amount is required at all.

Assuming I was the student in question and asked to find reviewers for my game demo, what is the best way to refuse? I’d think the 2nd paragraph of this post is enough if reworded into an email but I’m not an academic, and there might be some nuances I’m not considering.

I have a B.S. in Mathematics, am going to school for Computer Science / Machine Learning and have a few electives. What are the best Physics topics to supplement my machine learning knowledge? For instance, I would imagine Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics and Quantum Mechanics to be pretty important because of their reliance on probability theory. Furthermore, I’ve studied measure theory so they may digest nicely.

I am currently a second year masters student that will be applying to PhD programs in CS Theory. I have finished all of my required coursework for graduation, but my tuition is essentially free and I enjoy taking classes so I am looking for one to take this semester. The few that I am very interested in are full (with no chance of additional spots opening) but there is another that I can take.

My problem is this: It is a introductory graduate level combinatorics course. My undergraduate degree was heavily focused on discrete mathematics so I took two combinatorics courses (one that had a similar syllabus to this one until about halfway through the class). I did ok in the class as an undergrad but not as well as I would have liked in terms of grades.

My question is this: How would taking this course look to PhD admissions committees? Would they think I was sandbagging not taking serious coursework or simply retaking a class to boost my GPA (I would like to note that this is not the reason I want to take it. I am interested in the sections of the course that I did not have in my undergraduate class, but the difference between the classes will probably not be known to PhD admission committees. That is, they will just see Combinatorics for both.).

My undergraduate GPA was quite low, but I have good research experience. In this sense, my main goal is to minimize the impact of my undergrad GPA on my admission chances by taking graduate coursework and doing well (so far, my graduate GPA has been very high).

Thanks in advance.


Edited to clarify “sandbagging”.

I am a 2nd year PhD student in the area of digital communication networks. I am taking an information theory class and we had our midterm last week, which was open book, open notes. I did poorly on it–I got a 68, while the class average was a 90 with a standard deviation of 16. This class is the theoretical foundations of a lot of communication, so obviously I’d like to do well and understand the material. A 68 when the rest of the class did so well means that I’m not understanding essential aspects of the subject.

The grading scheme in this class is weird, in that the midterm score is thrown away if I do better on the final. So I have the chance to redeem myself on the final…problem is given that I actually did study for this exam, I don’t know how to do better.

The subject matter is inherently difficult for me. I have all the prerequisites (which is just 1-2 probability classes, I have taken two), but I have always struggled with more theoretical math.

I always go to lecture and do the homework. The homeworks take a long time because they are hard for me. I do each of the problems on my own, and then on the day the assignment is due, I go over my answers with a friend who is also taking the course. For this exam we were provided with 3 practice exams. I spent as much of the weekend studying as I could. We had a homework due on Saturday that I spent all Saturday finishing, and then I studied all Sunday and most of Monday. I managed to complete one and a half practice exams in that time.

My current style of studying worked well for undergrad and master’s courses, but clearly my methods are not working here. Arguably I could have started studying for the exam earlier, but I actually spent the week before the exam working hard on the aforementioned homework assignment (at the expense of my own research). I did well on that homework, and I assumed spending time understanding material from the homework would be beneficial for the exam. That did not turn out to be true.

Is it reasonable to try and dedicate more time to the class? My preparation for the exam was already at the expense of doing nearly no research that week. Has anyone had an experience where they did poorly on a class like this at first, but then managed to recover? How did you do it?

Finally, the poor grade has made me feel unmotivated and want to avoid working on the material, which is probably the exact opposite of what I need right now! Any advice on getting over this psychological aversion?

I’m currently developing the lesson plan for a large (~100 students) survey course in history for the fall semester. Since this is my first time as instructor of record for the course I’m having some problems balancing how I would like to teach the course (several books worth of reading) with feedback from others in the department (i.e., limit the reading). My concern is that while the textbook is quite solid, there are some significant gaps that I think should be addressed. How can I balance the reading for the course so that I don’t overwhelm the students in my course?