2D4232 Course analysis: Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations (E-learning)

Course data

Course leader: Doc André Jaun (KTH),
Forgeign respondant:Prof. Laurent Villard (EPFL / Switzerland)
Course goals: described under this link
Total reward: 4 points / 6 ECTS
Number of lectures: 2h in classroom, 5h video
Took place: 10 Oct - 16 Dec 2005
Course litterature: java-powered syllabus on-line
Course moments: Computer quiz, Forum discussions, Problem Based Learning Assignments
Ladok registered students:42
Students who passed:12
Prestationsgrad: 64% (number of credits earned / total possible)
Examinationsgrad: 29% (number of students finishing / total participants)

Recent modifications

Numerous and extensive modifications of the platform have been implemented in the course, including a Virtual Teaching Assistant (immediate feed-back for the student / correction support for the teacher), a searchable discussion forum and a series of administrative functions to maintain stable learning accounts when the course material (assignments, applets) evolves from one year to the next. Revised the introduction in the syllabus and developed a number of new assignments, some with automatic correction sheets.

2005 edition

The course was offered for the 3rd time as a continued education / PhD student course at NADA/KTH and for the 3rd time as PhD student course at EPFL / Switzerland.
Unreasonable administrative constraints are endemic (register in May for a course in October, fill-in a form in Swedish for students from abroad, still not clear whether MSc students from other KTH programs can register free of charge). The lack of proper advertizement within KTH and a negative incentive for the teacher (large burden with no reward having more students) limits the size of the class.
The course is generally percieved as challenging by those participants who finish and requires too much work for a number of students who would like to take a similar course for a maximum of 2 weeks work. It should be a good idea to split the course into two parts.
Trials made using the Virtual Teaching Assistant show that the burden of correcting assignments can be reduced by a factor 3-5 for the teacher while increasing the percieved support from the student.

Student evaluation

An anonymous evaluation is performed at the end of the course using an interactive evaluation form. From the raw data rating different topics (scale: 1=excellent, 3=average, 5=insufficient), the overall impression is good (2/5) with the best parts being the applet / problem based learning environement (1/5) and the worst the video-recordings (3/5) and for the first time this year the forum discussions (3/5).

Planned changes

The structure of the assignments should be changed so as to reap the benefit from the Virtual Teaching Assistant. The course should be split into two moments: 2 credits to read the syllabus and complete a number of easy tasks + 2 credits to perform the problem based learning assignments--which require more work but are percieved as most valuable.

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Content: André Jaun <>
Last modified 16 Dec 2005
Technical support: <>