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|Math 3941 Colloquium for Majors|
|Frequently Asked Questions|
Joseph A. Gallian, Instructor
Office: SCC 140E, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Reports are due within four weeks of the colloquium. There is no specific length requirement but reports are expected to have a significant intellectual content and it is rare that this can be done in as little as one page.
- Write your own report. Write in complete sentences. Keep your sentences short. Write more than one draft.
- Keep a copy of your reports in case there is a discrepancy between my records and yours.
- Make certain that your name, ID number and e-mail address are on the first page of your report and that the speaker/topic is identified.
- Submit the reports to me via email (email@example.com). The writing point will be posted on Moodle in a few days.
Comments and Suggestions
Math 3941 has several requirements because it has several objectives. For example, it is required that you attend a large number of colloquia in order to acquaint you with a wider range of mathematical topics than you would otherwise encounter in your course work, and you are required to submit written reports in order to help you improve your ability to write about mathematics. To pass this course you must earn 16 points. These points can be earned by attending colloquia (1 point each), by attending and submitting an acceptable report (2 points) or by presenting a colloquium (up to 4 points). At least four points must be earned for written submissions. Unless you plan to complete the requirements during your last semester before graduation, you should register for Math 3941 the semester after you complete requirements.
Your report should include your mathematical reaction to talks. While you might have to include a few sentences of reportage to "set the scene," your main task is to show what you thought about the talk as well as listened to it. It isn't essential that you understand everything speakers say in order to demonstrate that you were listening and thinking, but if an entire colloquium goes over your head you shouldn't attempt to report on it.
There are many ways to show you listened critically to a mathematical talk. For example, if the speaker discusses techniques, algorithms or theorems that are new to you, demonstrate that you understand them by working through an example that is different in some respect from the ones presented during the talk. Alternatively, if the speaker suggests things for the audience to try, try them and make a discussion of your efforts the centerpiece of your report. Even better than the foregoing suggestion, if a colloquium stimulates you to pose new mathematical questions, a discussion of them is appropriate.
See me for samples of well done reports. These will serve as models for your reports.
If what we want is still not clear to you or if you want to discuss any other aspect of this course, please see me.