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Kostia Zuev - Teaching
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Teaching @ Caltech
ASCIT Teaching Award [jpg1, jpg2]
In action [jpg, photo courtesy of Y. Yang]
A biased sample of student comments [pdf]

  • Statistical Inference
    Winters 2016, 2017, Springs 2018, 2019, Winter 2020
    [IDS/ACM/CS 157]
  • Introduction to Probability Models
    Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019
    [ACM/EE/IDS 116]
  • Applied Linear Algebra
    Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019
    [ACM/IDS 104]
  • Introductory Methods of Applied Mathematics
    Winter 2018, Winter 2019
    [ACM 95a/100a]
  • Introduction to Matlab and Mathematica
    Spring 2016, Spring 2017
    [ACM 11]

Past Teaching 

University of Liverpool

  • Uncertainty, Reliability and Risk
    Winter 2014.
University of Southern California
A biased sample of student comments [png]

  • Mathematical Statistics
    Spring 2012, Spring 2013.
    [Math 408]
  • Mathematics of Physics and Engineering
    Spring 2012.
    [Math 245]
  • Fundamental Principles of Calculus
    Fall 2011, Fall 2012.
    [Math 118x]

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

  • Mechanics of Materials
    Spring 2007, Spring 2008.

  • Statics and Dynamics
    Fall 2006, Fall 2007.

Moscow State University

  • Classical Differential Geometry
    Spring 2005.
    Notes in Russian [pdf]

Summer Schools

Teacher of mathematics [jpg]
Summer School
Moscow Center
for Continuous Mathematical Education
Summer 2000, Summer 2002.

Teaching Philosophy

Teacher: Children, write down the proposition:
“The fish was sitting in a tree.”
Pupil: But is it true that fish sit in trees?
Teacher: Well . . . it was a crazy fish.
- Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, "Monday Begins on Saturday"

- Emir Kusturica and Goran Bregovic, "Arizona Dream"
What are my general goals as a Teacher?
I believe that the most effective way of education is self-study. As Ray Bradbury put it, “teachers are to inspire; librarians are to fulfill.” This is especially true in engineering and mathematical sciences: the only way to learn is through the independent study and mastery of problems. It takes time and effort to deeply understand a new subject by constructing examples, solving exercises, and finding analogies with other already learned subjects.

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How do I motivate and inspire my Students?
Study without desire just ruins the memory. So, I always try to explain to my Students why I teach what I do, why the topic is important and interesting, and what kind of problems we are able to solve using the corresponding concepts and notions. I hope that eventually my inspiration will be transmitted to the majority of my Students and that they will become intrinsically motivated.

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What do I mean by good lectures?
First of all, a good course of lectures must reflect the current state of the subject. I form a time-limited course in such a way that it contains all the main concepts, notions, and illustrative examples. Although my ambition is to cover as much important content as possible, the quality of knowledge is definitely more important.
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How do I know that my Students are learning?
I like questions: I like to ask, and I like to be asked. So, I always let my Students ask questions during the lecture. It gives me immediate feedback on how students are thinking, what they understand, and what is difficult for them. In addition, asking questions helps students feel more comfortable during the lecture. I consider the absence of questions as a first sign of a lack of understanding.
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How can I improve my teaching?
Feedback from both students and colleagues plays an important role in teaching improvement. In the middle of the term I ask Students to complete a short questionnaire on how to make my lectures and assignments better, which aspects of my teaching are strong and which need improvement. From time-to-time I invite my mentors to my lectures and ask them for a feedback on how to improve my teaching.
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When I teach mathematics, do I teach just mathematics?
I always keep in mind that by no means will all of my Students be professional mathematicians or engineers. This leads to a natural question: what benefits from my course can my Students get for their future life?
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