[Dmbu-l] starting a student seminar

Bashir Rastegarpanah bashir.rastegar at gmail.com
Fri Jun 19 10:54:00 EDT 2015


Hi all,

Thank you Natali for your suggestion. I am thinking about a very
similar issue for a while now. So I will take this chance  to share
with you my ideas. I think there are two potential goals that we can
pursue and I think both are missing in our department:

1. I think not only different research groups are very divided at our
department but also students in each research group are surprisingly
divided. I don't know if it has happened by intention and people
prefer it like this, but definitely it is not the most efficient way
of doing a PhD nor the most productive scientific environment. I think
we should share our experience, knowledge, and challenges. A very
simple and doable idea is to have a regular(weekly of biweekly)
meetings, and people explain what is the project they are working on,
what interesting things they have learned, what are the challenges,
what could be the next step and so on. Then others can give
suggestions and share their similar experiences.

2. There are many interesting topics that I think many of us would
like to learn at some point during his/her PhD. BU may not offer any
course related to those topics, but for some of them there are
excellent and very well structured tutorials/lecture notes available
online. A group of students that are interested in the same topic, can
choose one of them and start studying the notes and explain them to
each other on a regular basis. A group of us had a similar experiment
last year with the Spielman's lecture notes about spectral graph
theory and I think it was very successful.

Although Natali's suggestion was more about improving presentation
skills, and mine is more about what to present. I think we can combine
them and I believe it is going to be fun and useful.

Best,
Bashir

PS: Maybe it is also useful to share this with faculty members, the
chair of our department, and the director of graduate study. They
might give us helpful comments, specially about my second idea.



On Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 9:22 AM, Natali Ruchansky <natalir at bu.edu> wrote:
> Guys,
>
> After seeing so many horrendous presentations at SIGMOD, I was thinking of
> starting a seminar where students come and give a 5-15 min presentation
> (white-board or slides).  It can be about their research, a practice talk,
> but hopefully just something new and interesting they've learned -- maybe a
> funny paper or a cool dataset/study.
>
> I want it to be across the whole department so students can practice give
> clear, concise presentation even to people unfamiliar with the topic.
> Also I feel we are really divided as a department.
>
> I want it to be so short because it'll increase the chance of participation
> and mainly because its a challenge to present background, problem, and proof
> all in such a short time.
>
> My issue is that it will only work if people participate, and I'm not at all
> confident this will happen.
> So please tell me honestly, in private or public, if you would attend such a
> thing.
>
> Thanks!!
> Natali :)
>
> PS. They do this type of thing at InfoLab in Stanford
>
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