Course Iteration: Incorporating Theoretical Content and Demonstrations

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YEN-JIE LEE: I have been teaching 8.03 for more than three years already. So I was given a charge to change the course to make it even better than what was actually done previously in previous years. And we actually made a lot of adjustment during this few years with many other professors in the physics department.

So what we actually did is to change the textbook. The textbook is actually now much more theoretical-oriented so that we benefit from that for the preparation for the other courses, like 8.04, which is actually the quantum physics and also the other courses which are related to waves and vibration.

The benefit is the following. So the students who are equipped with more mathematics background will also finding it much more interesting compared to previous years because in the previous years, we are mainly focusing on very practical, problem-solving. Introducing a more theoretical-orientated content, that can help us to systematically understand single oscillator, coupled oscillator, infinite number of coupled oscillator to where continuous and infinitely coupled system in the very, very well-defined theoretical framework.

And finally, I think what we really did is to introduce a lot of demos, much more demos, actually, than previous years so that it goes with the lecture so that people can actually look at those demos and compare to our theoretical calculations. And I think that is actually evolving as a function of time, and we were adding or subtracting the demos, which we think is more useful or less useful during the semester. And that is actually what you see now in the 2016 version.

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