On Leading Discussion

As a leader of discussion, your primary goals are to introduce each reading, and then encourage discussion. You do not need to master all the highly technical content of the paper, I will provide additional explanations as needed in class.

When introducing each reading you should explain, at a minimum:

  • The problem: the basic problem that the authors are trying to solve
  • The basic idea: the high level approach the authors take to solve this problem
  • The degree of success: how much of the problem did the authors solve, and how much is left unsolved? What are the limitations of the authors' approach?

You should encourage discussion throughout, but one of the best ways to do this is to discuss:

  • The class's primary reactions: read the posted reactions of your fellow class members before class, and explain main questions and thoughts they had. Encourage them to discuss their reactions in class.

A good leadership of discussion will also:

  • Walk through the imagery: these days almost every paper has images, and these images can be a very good way of illustrating the above points.
  • Show a couple demos or videos, if available: again, a very good way of illustrating the above points.

Here are some good presentations from previous years. They could discuss class reactions a bit more: