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05/17/2017

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Sara L. Uckelman

I have now run my 3rd year advanced logic seminar twice, with the same format both times and it's been awesome. It's a two-hour seminar that meets once a week, and after a few initial weeks where I run the seminars, to get everyone all onto the same footing, after that, everyone is expected to run the seminar twice over the year (it's usually two main topics, so I expect one seminar per topic from each). We set the reading a week in advance, and generally solicit volunteers only a week in advance too (saves trying to set a schedule for the entire year at the beginning of the year. Sometimes, though, people will put dibs on specific sub-topics they want to do.) My role in the seminar is to be available to the student in advance as they are preparing, to help them through any tricky material, to answer questions that come up during the seminar that the student can't answer, and to add context and content that they wouldn't get from the textbook alone. Also, if there are no volunteers (usually for the weeks when they all have papers due in their other courses), then I take over and run the seminar.

It has been absolutely brilliant. The amount of work and preparation they put into their presentations is amazing, and many people have said there's a lot more impetus to really learn the material if you're going to be teaching it to others than if you're just going to be doing homeworks. This year, our two topics were Godel's incompleteness results and philosophy of math,and in the latter a number of them wanted to cover Wittgenstein -- someone whose philosophy of math I know very little about. I told them this, that if they wanted a seminar on W. I'd find some reading but they would be mostly on their own. The guy who volunteered to run the seminar was writing his thesis on W. and so came in with a huge amount of context and background material, in addition to the exposition of the texts we were reading, and I learned so much in those two hours.

Sara L. Uckelman

As for teaching intro logic, I wrote up a post on that a few months ago: http://diaryofdoctorlogic.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/how-to-teach-introductory-logic-to.html

Amanda

Sara is this an undergraduate seminar?

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