Reflecting on Visuals in Teaching

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in two Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) events. Both of them made me think about how I present visual material to students and how I want students to approach visual information in my classes. With MIT Spark and Columbia Splash coming up, I found those experiences valuable and wanted to reflect on them a bit. Continue reading


JMM Wrap Up 2018

One of the 2017 RIPS students, upon hearing that this was my tenth Joint Meetings, asked if I enjoy it more every year. The question surprised me because I’ve never thought about the years relative to each other that way. I’ve thought a lot about how my experience of the meetings has changed — I wrote about that last year, for example — but I don’t tend to ask myself whether I enjoyed a particular year more than another.

I’ve been trying to pick favorites, but it’s hard exactly because my idea of why I’m at the conference has changed so much. I loved 2011, for example, but I was much less social then. From my point of view now, my experience in 2011 lacked something that’s key to my current enjoyment of JMM, but it wasn’t what I was seeking then.

So instead of trying to evaluate how much I enjoyed this JMM, I started thinking about the parts of this year that will stand out most for me. I came up with the following:

  • Giving a talk in an education session;
  • Presenting myself as an atmospheric scientist at JMM;
  • Judging the undergraduate poster session;
  • Talking to an undergraduate who cited my work.

Those are all things that were new at this JMM. I was already an atmospheric science student last year, but that wasn’t my identity at the Joint Meetings as much as it was this time around. I also think three of these show a shift away from an undergrad role. That shift started in past years when I helped at the BSM table or went to education sessions, but even last year I was still in some undergrad spaces. I gave a talk on work I did as an undergrad, and I was in the undergrad poster session. This year I was very much “on the other side.”

AGU 2017, Days 1 and 2

After a couple of days at the AGU Fall Meeting, it’s not as overwhelming as I worried that it would be. The conference center and poster hall are huge, but other than that, it doesn’t feel like I’m at a conference three times larger than any other I’ve been to. There’s a lot of cool science, and obviously I’m loving getting to eat Cajun food. Continue reading

“Basic” and Detail in Prereqs

Over on Twitter, some folks were talking about the use of the word “basic” in math. A lot of the conversation was centered around the idea that “basic” is vague, inconsistent across people and places, and a moving target. Sometimes for Splash and Spark classes, I’ve listed something like “comfort with basic algebra” as a prerequisite. After reading the conversations on Twitter, I decided to dive deeper into what I meant by that.

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