Volunteer Lecturer Program: Exit Survey
Name of Volunteer: Mark Gockenbach
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Home Institution: Michigan Technological University Position in Home Institution: Professor and Department Chair (Mathematical Sciences)
Arrival and Departure Day in Host Country: 26 May, 25 June 2016
Who was your main contact in the host country (name, affiliation and email address): Mam Mareth, RUPP, email@example.com
Please answer the following questions:
1) Location (country, city, institution) of your lecture:
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Royal University of Phnom Penh
2) Dates of Lecture:
30 May through 24 June 2016
3) Subject and title of the course:
4) How often did you teach a course?
I lectured for three hours per day, four days per week. There was one holiday and I gave the students a study day before each exam.
5) How many students did participate in the course (s)?
6) Background of Students:
Undergraduate/ Master/ PhD Students? All students had a bachelor's degree and were near the end of the master's degree at RUPP.
7) Please provide (if possible) any schedule of activities/list of topics covered during your visit.
I emphasized the standard problems formulations of nonlinear programming (unconstrained minimization, equality-constrained minimization, inequality-constrained minimization). I carefully derived the optimality conditions (first and second-order, both necessary conditions and sufficient conditions) for general nonlinear problems and also discussed the stronger conclusions available for convex problems. I presented and analyzed Newton's method for unconstrained minimization and sequential unconstrained minimization techniques (quadratic penalty, augmented Lagrangian, and logarithmic barrier methods) for equality and inequality-constrained minimization. Due to a lack of time and the students' weak background in programming, I did not have the students write code to implement the algorithms.
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? Please also mention the references you used or any text books that were referred to:
I wrote my own syllabus and distributed lecture notes on the topic. I did not use any textbook.
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.
Students had daily homework problems to complete, and I gave two midterm exams and a final (attached). My lecture notes are also attached.
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 lecture, discussed with local staff issues regarding curriculum?
I gave a seminar to the Mathematics Department of RUPP, "Inverse problems and the singular value expansion." My talk was mostly expository, but I included a little discussion of my current work on the generalized singular value expansion.
14) Where did you live? (e.g. hotel, hostel, on campus, in city e.g.)
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 accommodations are very comfortable and I had no travel or health difficulties in any of my three visits to Phnom Penh. Regarding the students: They work very hard, but they are not accustomed to interpreting the meaning of mathematical results and applying them to specific problems. If you teach a method for solving a problem and give them a chance to practice, they will learn the technique very well. But if you teach them a theorem (e.g. the second-order sufficient conditions for a nonlinear program) and ask them to interpret a specific nonlinear program in light of the theorem (e.g. does the theorem apply? What does it tell you? Explain.), they are liable to struggle. I tried to give them chances to develop this ability