Goal: The course is a
seminar course. You will get out of the course what you put in.
Work: You will need to
choose a pair of "historical" themes of your choice. For each theme,
you will need to find a set of three to five papers (1960-2005) that
introduce and evolve the idea; you will need to read and digest those
papers; you will need to turn the central ideas of all the papers
into a coherent lecture; and you will need to take notes for the
discussions after these presentations.
Reading: You will need to
read a fair amount. Reading means working through a text,
figuring out the key innovation in the paper, and making up and
working through examples that help you understand the innovations.
Writing: You will also need
to write a fair amount. Specifically, you will write an annotated
bibliography entry for each of your two themes. A complete entry
consists of the bibtex information plus two paragraphs: one that
summarizes the paper and one that explains its novelty. (This is
approximately the format of a conference review for a paper,
though conference reviews should also come with specific
suggestions for improving a paper.) Email me the pdf of your
annotated bibliography at least one day before your presentation.
Presentation: You will also
need to give a presentation on each theme. A presentation should
take approximately 70 minutes, leaving 15 minutes for discussion
(during and after your presentation). Start the presentation by
handing out copies of the annotated bibliography for the theme.
Make sure the presentation includes a background/problem
description (where did the authors start from?) and an explanation
of the essential contributions (what did this paper improve over
the previous one? how do they differ?) of each paper.
To help you prepare the presentation, you will work in
pairs. Proof-read each others' annotated bibliographies; practice
your presentations with each other. Your peers will anonymously
evaluate your presentation with the help of the following evaluation
evaluation sheet (PDF)
Grades: You will get real
grades and "PhD grades" (A for average, B for Bad, etc). The real
grades will consist of six components: one grade per annotated
bibliography; one per presentation; and one grade per
bibliography-presentation from your peers.