A look at lecturing: Just before the start

After I had written nearly two months ago how the preparations for the lecture in the new term has started, it is now the time to wrap up the preparations as from next week on the term starts. So what have I achieved up to now? Well, more or less nearly all lectures are prepared, I have one left to do, but this will be done nearer to the actual lecture, because I need one for a bit of wiggle room in the middle (so when I am too slow or I see that students do not get used to my concepts). Also I have managed to have ideas and prepare most of the practical sheets, which the students have to do. So far, I am quite happy with that, but I will only see in the active phase, whether this will really work out as planned.

So I think it is time to write more about this lecture, before I will talk in the next weeks a bit more on the concepts. The lecture is on time series analysis, as said last time allows for 12h/week of student time with actually four hours of attendance each week. Two of these are announced as lectures, two as practicals with computers. So all in all a lot of time to fill with quite a lot of material, which has to be taught. For the students it will be the first and only statistical lecture during their course. Doing this on the basis of time series analysis is of course problematic, because in statistics, TSA is usually a topic, which is handled quite late. For real TSA you need quite a lot of background in the basics of statistics to understand the higher bits, so this has to be handled first, without losing the student’s attention. Also the material covers not only the classical bits of TSA but also the spectral part, as the subjects the students are reading are using methodologies of this field quite a lot. So everything wants to be covered, from mean of a distribution to Fourier Analysis, from rolling dices to EOF analysis. Having this volume it is clear, that just an overview can be given to give the students a basis on which they are able to build later on. In terms of practicals, working on their programming skills will be the number one priority. It will be a bit of a surprise for myself, how far their skills are already developed, as they had courses in the past, but it is for me unknown what exactly has been learned there. Therefore, I also have to cover therein basics (just in case scenario) and be able to reduce the workload, whan students need more time to adapt to this.

So as always, before a term starts for a lecture you give and prepare for the first time, it is a bit of a gamble whether your preparations hold up. Let’s see what will be the outcome of this.



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