Name of Volunteer: Mark Gockenbach
Home Institution: Michigan Technological University
Position at home institution: Professor and Chair, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Host Institution: Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP)
Arrival and departure date in host country: June 5—July 5, 2015
Who was your main contact in the host country (name, affiliation and email address)?
Mam Mareth, RUPP, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please answer the following questions:
1) Location (country, city, institution) of your lecture:
Royal University of Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
2) Dates of your lecture:
Monday, June 8 through Friday, July 3, 2015
3) Subject and title of the course:
Ordinary Differential Equations
4) How often did you teach a course? Class met 17 times over four weeks. There were two holidays (one scheduled, one announced with just two days’ notice), and I gave the class a study day before the final exam.
5) How many students took part in the course(s)?
6) Background of students: Undergraduate/ Master/ PhD Students?
I believe that all of the students had a bachelor’s degree, and they were all pursuing the master’s degree.
7) Please provide (if possible) any schedule of activities/list of topics covered during your visit.
I covered the following topics: Introduction and first-order ODEs, higher-order scalar ODEs, systems of linear ODEs, especially constant-coefficient systems, series solutions of (second-order) ODEs, stability and phase plane analysis. I put quite a bit of emphasis on the existence and uniqueness theory.
8) 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 wrote my own syllabus and sent it well in advance of the course. I do not know if it was distributed to the students or not. Please also mention the references you used or any textbooks that were referred to: I wrote and distributed lecture notes.
9) Did you use any books, classroom material, AV, or other technology-based materials?
10) What type of assessment tools did you use? Attach if available, any notes or exams/quizzes that were distributed to students.
I gave three exams (two midterms and a final), plus ten quizzes.
11) In which language was the course given:
12) Was the course language the native language of the students?
13) Did you give any public lectures, and did you discuss with local staff issues regarding the curriculum?
I gave on public lecture (on the calculus of variations), although there were only two or three in attendance beyond my own students). I also gave a lecture (one Saturday morning) to a class on Mathematics Education given by Dr. Chan Roath from the Ministry of Education.
14) Where did you live? (e.g. hotel, hostel, on campus, in city e.g.)
The Anise Hotel.
15) Do you have any recommendations/suggestions to the professor who will visit the university in the future (also regarding accommodation, health and visa issues)?
The English language skills of the students are mediocre, so I recommend written lecture notes or at least writing a lot on the board. The students struggle with questions that require them to apply or interpret what they have learned. For example, given a particular initial value problem, does the standard existence and uniqueness theorem (which was proved in class) apply? Why or why not? I recommend that the students receive regular questions of this type, so that they can develop their ability to interpret and apply mathematical results.