CS 301 -- GSI Practicum

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Friday, September 2, 2005,  2:10pm-3:30pm, in 320 Soda Hall. 

Informal Discussion: How did it go this week?
Report from the front lines.

Round-Robin Re-Introductions

Your previous teaching experiences.
Get your photo taken -- if you have not already done so.

Today's Discussion is about:
How to Have a Good Discussion

Let's start by having a discussion, -- then reflect on what we did.

Example topic: RECURSION

Write down a few words or phrases that you associate with recursion.

Work in pairs: How would you explain recursion to a 10-year old or to your grandparents ?

Examples of recursion (outside of computer programs)

What is recursion good for ? (motivation through relevance)

What is the dumbest thing you might possibly hear about recursion ? (ice-breaker question)

Key Elements of a Good Discussion:

... make a list ___

How to Prepare to Lead a Discussion:

... make a list ___ See also: Ch.8, "Leading a Discussion" by Barbara Gross Davis
in particular pages 63-66.
Keep in mind, that the discussions relating to  technical computer science material
will typically be less controversial than the kind of discussions alluded to in the textbook.
On the other hand, these technical concepts might be more difficult to understand
and thus need to be elucidated with many different types of examples and explanations.

How to Get All Students Involved in the Discussion:

... make a list ___

See also: Ch.9, "Encouraging Student Participation in Discussion" by Barbara Gross Davis
in particular pages 75-78

How to Keep Control of the Discussion:

If the discussion drifts away from the main topic,
you may say:

"This is an interesting question, which we may discuss at a later time; but for now I would like to stay focussed on ... "

"This question goes beyond what we have planned to cover in this class; but I would like to discuss this topic with you after class or in office hours ..."

How to handle answers that are "way-off":

For instance: in reponse to: "What is Recursion?" See also: Ch.8, Section: "Guiding the Discussion" by Barbara Gross Davis
in particular pages 69-72.

Comments on your "JOURNAL/DIARY"

I received some good, informative, insightful paragraphs.
Two options:

A Reminder:

As a GSI you must complete the online “Professional Standards and Ethics” course at

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