Raymond Greenwell: His visit at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, May 27 to June 20, 2013

 

Volunteer Lecturer Exit Survey

 

 

A.  What was the location and dates of your lectures?

Royal University of Phnom Penh, May 27 to June 20, 2013

 

B.  What was the subject of the course you taught?

Mathematics (Statistics)

 

C.  The goal of the lecture is to provide an intensive 3-4 week courses at universities in the developing world at the advanced undergraduate level. These courses should have a student audience of 20 or more, be controlled, with examinations, and be part of a regular degree program at the university at which they are offered. Was this goal achieved?

Yes. The class of 20 students met for 4 weeks and had two tests plus a final exam and regular homework assignments. All students passed the class and received credit from the university.

 

 D. The lecturer should be assisted by a local mathematics professor who prepares the students beforehand, assists when necessary during the course, and takes care of any necessary follow-up.  Was you local assistant provided, and was his/her work satisfactory?

Yes. Mam Mareth from the Mathematics Department was my contact who took care of all my administrative needs.

 

E.  Did you develop or follow a prescribed syllabus or did you write your own?  Was it available to the students before the course or when the course began?

I developed my own syllabus, which I had made available before the class began. The actual syllabus I followed was somewhat different due to adjustments I made.

 

F.  Did you use any books, classroom material, AV, or other technology-based materials?

I used Introduction to Mathematical Statistics (5th ed.) by Robert V. Hogg and Allen T. Craig. All the students had photocopies of the book on the first day of class; I’m not sure how that was arranged. I brought an extra copy of the textbook to leave with the students.

 

G.  What type of assessment tools did you use?

I had daily homework assignments, as listed on the syllabus, plus two tests and a final exam.

 

H.  What are your principal observations concerning this experience?

The course was similar to a course in statistics that I had taught in the masters program in mathematics at my own university. The performance of the students was similar to that of my own graduate students, except that they needed more time for the tests than I would have given my own students. Also, I did less with technology, since the students in this class only had scientific calculators. In my own university, students had a TI-84 with many statistical functions built in, plus they had access to statistical software such as SPSS. I did not give the RUPP students a project to do involving technology, as I did with my Hofstra University students.

 

I.  Did you feel that your contribution was useful and appreciated?

Yes. The students seemed to enjoy the class and appreciate my efforts to be a good teacher.

 

J.  What did you like the most about your experience?

I really enjoyed being able to spend a month in a country different from my own. This gave me time to get to know the people, particularly my own students, and experience life more as a resident than as a tourist there for a few days.

 

K.  What did you like the least about your experience?

It was really hot there. On one day when the electricity went out, the classroom became almost unbearable.

 

L.  How could your experience be improved?

It would have helped if I had received a syllabus of the probability course that the students had taken previously. Instead, I kept discovering things they didn’t know, causing me to backtrack and cover those topics.

 

M. How would you evaluate the overall utility of the work to your students?

_X__Outstanding ___Very Good___Average___Marginal___Unsatisfactory

 

N. How would you evaluate the overall appropriateness of your living arrangements, care taken of your needs by your local host, etc.?

_X__Outstanding ___Very Good___Average___Marginal___Unsatisfactory

 

O.    Have you developed creative teaching skills as a result of this experience? (i.e. since English is not the first language of the students, you might have communicated the concepts in different ways OR the lack of resources has forced you to come out with a different approach)

I wrote in block letters on the board rather than in cursive, because I wasn’t sure my students would be able to read my handwriting. I decided this was an improvement that I will do in all classes from now on, because it made what I wrote clearer, plus it caused me to slow down, allowing students to follow along more easily.