Is this a reasonable request?

  • #26
berkeman
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I had to give one in my Texas History class a couple of semesters ago. I went up there and just read from my paper. I later found out that's apparently the cardinal sin when giving presentations! Haha.
Shackleford, for what it's worth, I agree with others that learning to give presentations is an important skill. I have found it to be an extremely important skill, and it has definitely enhanced my career. I've written and given small presentations to handfulls of people, all the way up to groups of hundreds of people. And with just a few techniques and some practice, it is very manageable.

So I'd suggest that you look at this dilema as an opportunity. It's an opportunity for you to address the current feelings that you have about giving presentations, and gain some experience in getting more comfortable in doing them. In addition to taking the 1-credit class, I'd suggest doing some learning and practicing on the side, so that when the time comes for giving the presentation, you are already more comfortable doing so. It will definitely enhance the things that you can do in your professional career.

One good resource is the Toastmasters group:

http://www.toastmasters.org/

It's a good way to gain practice and learn many tips for giving public presentations. You should be able to find a group near you to check out and see if it would be practical to learn from them. Best of luck!
 
  • #27
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I'm not expecting the department to relax its requirements. I was merely wondering if they do sometimes, especially when it would be only a 1-hour waiver. My line of thinking is 20/21 hours - really, what's the difference? But, of course, I don't expect them to cater to my preferences. Again, perhaps, I didn't phrase it correctly, I was wondering if departments sometimes make minor waivers for a case such as this.

As for stage fright, it's funny because I've played in church bands for years - on stage. That's no problem. My problem is all the attention. I don't like attention on me.

One of the old guys at work talked to me about Toastmasters. He said it helped him tremendously.

At any rate, I still have many months to do decide what I want to do.
 
  • #28
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I'm not expecting the department to relax its requirements. I was merely wondering if they do sometimes, especially when it would be only a 1-hour waiver. My line of thinking is 20/21 hours - really, what's the difference? But, of course, I don't expect them to cater to my preferences. Again, perhaps, I didn't phrase it correctly, I was wondering if departments sometimes make minor waivers for a case such as this.

As for stage fright, it's funny because I've played in church bands for years - on stage. That's no problem. My problem is all the attention. I don't like attention on me.

One of the old guys at work talked to me about Toastmasters. He said it helped him tremendously.

At any rate, I still have many months to do decide what I want to do.
Well I'm sure that to answer your question, no I don't think (in my experience at least) departments make minor waivers. And I do agree with the vast majority of people here in saying that you should take the 1 hour course. I hear that you don't like the attention on you, but turn the attention onto the audience. Ask them questions and get them involved. Turn it around a bit and put the emphasis on them paying attention and answering questions.
 
  • #29
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Well I'm sure that to answer your question, no I don't think (in my experience at least) departments make minor waivers. And I do agree with the vast majority of people here in saying that you should take the 1 hour course. I hear that you don't like the attention on you, but turn the attention onto the audience. Ask them questions and get them involved. Turn it around a bit and put the emphasis on them paying attention and answering questions.
That's part of the presentation. The class is supposed to ask questions about your particular project. I'll consider it. It's supposed to be a group project with the 45 minutes split between two people.
 
  • #30
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As for stage fright, it's funny because I've played in church bands for years - on stage. That's no problem. My problem is all the attention. I don't like attention on me.
Well, a stage is just a metaphor, stage fright doesn't have anything to do with stages per se, it's about attention on yourself. I was always scared of presentations, as well, but I never considered not taking a course because of it. But if your fears are manifest to such an extent, then I think that is the most compelling argument for why it is imperative you take this course, or if not this one, another one where you will gain experience in giving talks to other people.
 
  • #31
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How do you know that the lab program is pointless, when you haven't done it. Do you believe that the people running the lab program think it is pointless? Are you really saying that there is nothing to learn?
 
  • #32
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How do you know that the lab program is pointless, when you haven't done it. Do you believe that the people running the lab program think it is pointless? Are you really saying that there is nothing to learn?
Yes. I'm saying the advanced lab and seminar are entirely pointless. I don't know why they require it for physics majors in preparation for research!
 
  • #33
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Ignoring the part where that doesn't actually answer the question, "how do you know the lab program is pointless"...

The standard pre-med track involves introductory physics. How useful do you suppose that to a practicing doctor? Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), it's not really up to the students to decide what's required or not. If one wants the degree, one has to jump through all the hoops.
 
  • #34
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Ignoring the part where that doesn't actually answer the question, "how do you know the lab program is pointless"...

The standard pre-med track involves introductory physics. How useful do you suppose that to a practicing doctor? Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), it's not really up to the students to decide what's required or not. If one wants the degree, one has to jump through all the hoops.
Hopefully, I was clearly being sarcastic. I don't plan on going into research or doing a thesis. The advanced labs prepare students for that kind of work.

However, I agree it wouldn't be useless for me. I would still learn some practical things that could prove useful in the future.
 
  • #35
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Ah, my apologies, then. It's hard to catch that stuff on the web :P
 
  • #36
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Ah, my apologies, then. It's hard to catch that stuff on the web :P
Oh, I agree. I'm now a math major, physics minor. Up until recently, I was a physics major, math minor. Now, I should really focus on learning programming or computational software.

Maybe some of you can advise WRT that.
 
  • #37
491
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Are you asking what computer language you should learn? I'd say go for Java or C/C++. Java would be easier than C or Cpp because Java is multi-platform for one, and you don't have to deal with a lot of the weird quirky things that are in C. FORTRAN may also be useful, engineers and scientists still use it despite better options. Once you learn one language, the others will be a simple matter of learning structure and syntax.

I don't know if you know but usually it's also a good idea to take classes on applied or numerical methods (mathematics course usually) so that it shows you how to do the math side of computational fields (like finance, biology, genetics, physics, etc.).
 
  • #38
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Are you asking what computer language you should learn? I'd say go for Java or C/C++. Java would be easier than C or Cpp because Java is multi-platform for one, and you don't have to deal with a lot of the weird quirky things that are in C. FORTRAN may also be useful, engineers and scientists still use it despite better options. Once you learn one language, the others will be a simple matter of learning structure and syntax.

I don't know if you know but usually it's also a good idea to take classes on applied or numerical methods (mathematics course usually) so that it shows you how to do the math side of computational fields (like finance, biology, genetics, physics, etc.).
There's a Numerical Analysis course offered, but I haven't taken the Fortran prerequisite.

If I go into a computational field, will I have to know programming languages or software packages such as Maple, Mathematica, Matlab, etc.?
 
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  • #39
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I think these rigid credit hour requirements are engineered to screw students over. I'm not advocating making a minor "as many credits as you feel like," but a range would be more sensible (20-21 credits.)
 
  • #40
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Well, they have given a range, it's 21+ hours.
 
  • #41
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Well, they have given a range, it's 21+ hours.
That's true. But how many people are that ambitious. :tongue2:
 
  • #42
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but a range would be more sensible (20-21 credits.)
I like Ryker's answer. But suppose they made the minimum 20. Now we have another student who wants to get a minor with 19. After they let him through, the next student wants one with 18. Where does it stop?
 
  • #43
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That's true. But how many people are that ambitious. :tongue2:
Me, apparently! I'll have 23 hours! :tongue: It is a minimum of 21 hours.
 
  • #44
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There's a Numerical Analysis course offered, but I haven't taken the Fortran prerequisite.

If I go into a computational field, will I have to know programming languages or software packages such as Maple, Mathematica, Matlab, etc.?
It could help to know them already, but you can learn them in your free time. MATLAB is basically like FORTRAN's glittery little niece. It's slower but it's easier, you still write scripts but you have a command line. Plus you have different 'toolboxes' that help you with different things. MATLAB is usually used to do computations that don't need much optimization (like the difference in optimizing would be maybe a couple seconds or minutes, which is not a huge enough difference to warrant the extra effort to optimize). It's very easy to learn once you've learned an actual programming language like FORTRAN, Java or C. Mathematica is usually used just for symbolic operations because it's very nice and neat in that area, but really slow with pure computation.

Anyway, once you learn a real language, you can learn these other things on your own and would probably be a good idea to do so since it'll look good on your CV/resume.
 
  • #45
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Yes. I'm saying the advanced lab and seminar are entirely pointless. I don't know why they require it for physics majors in preparation for research!
Research is about pursuing the truth. Labs and seminars are just one way to do it. Do you accept that you can have broad educational objectives whose usefulness is not immediately apparent, as well as narrow objectives whose usefulness is clear? Both approaches have validity.
 
  • #46
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Research is about pursuing the truth. Labs and seminars are just one way to do it. Do you accept that you can have broad educational objectives whose usefulness is not immediately apparent, as well as narrow objectives whose usefulness is clear? Both approaches have validity.
Did you miss the sarcasm memo? :tongue:
 
  • #47
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When I was getting my BA in math my school offered complex analysis once every 3 semesters. To make it worse they had real analysis 1 and 2 as a requist for it. I ended up with a semester where I met every single requirement to graduate except complex analysis, which wasn’t offered until next semester. The worst part was that it was the only courses I needed that semsster also! Meaning I had about a year of school with only one class I needed to take. I ended up taking a few graduate courses and a couple independent studies, which were some of the best courses I ever took. They brought my understanding to a level it would have never been otherwise. Maybe this will be a good opurtinutiy for you also.
 

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