Fulbright Specialist Diary: Day 12-13

Day 12 – Thursday, July 19, 2018

This was a low activity day, well deserved, after a string of high-intensity workshops.  I spent the morning at the hotel making final preparation for the guest lecturing I would be doing tomorrow for a Numerical Methods course.  The afternoon was spent writing the blog entries, and compiling the information, links, and documents I promised to send to the workshop participants.

Day 13 – Friday, July 20, 2018

Today was my most favorite activity day.  I am biased but I love interacting with students.  So the two numerical methods instructors of record in mechanical engineering at UTP were gracious to let me teach two sections of the class this morning.  The classes were 50-minute sessions starting at 10 AM and 11 AM.  About 40-50 students were present in each section and we reviewed the Trapezoidal rule in order to make the case for the Gauss-Legendre quadrature rule.

The definition of quadrature took us to the old saying –“As thy difficult a problem as finding quadrature of a circle”.

I introduced the 1- and 2-pt Gaussian quadrature rule, derived the two rules, and compared it via example with the trapezoidal rule.  Questions of the efficacy of the Gaussian quadrature and trapezoidal rules were asked, and the ever-present relationship of absolute relative approximate error to pre-specified tolerance and significant digits was recalled.  With both sections, we took a class picture. In both of them, they had to say “Approximate” and in the second one, I remembered to ask them to make an approximate sign with their fingers.  I asked them to stay in touch through the numerical methods course by asking questions via the numericalmethodsguy YouTube channel.


Photo: The two sections of the Numerical Methods class at UTP, Malaysia

My host took me for lunch to an Arabic restaurant on campus.  The food was good – we both had Chicken Biryani coupled with freshly squeezed watermelon juice.

Since the university has a break for Friday prayers from 12:30-2:30 PM, we talked about the differences in the promotion process, his research in welding, medical facilities in the city, departmental research, and opportunities for grant applications for UTP faculty.


This material is based upon work supported by the Fulbright Specialist Grant and the products of the National Science Foundation Grants# 0126793, 0341468, 0717624,  0836981, 0836916, 0836805, 1322586, 1609637.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the Fulbright Program.

Author: Autar Kaw

Autar Kaw (http://autarkaw.com) is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Florida. He has been at USF since 1987, the same year in which he received his Ph. D. in Engineering Mechanics from Clemson University. He is a recipient of the 2012 U.S. Professor of the Year Award. With major funding from NSF, he is the principal and managing contributor in developing the multiple award-winning online open courseware for an undergraduate course in Numerical Methods. The OpenCourseWare (nm.MathForCollege.com) annually receives 1,000,000+ page views, 1,000,000+ views of the YouTube audiovisual lectures, and 150,000+ page views at the NumericalMethodsGuy blog. His current research interests include engineering education research methods, adaptive learning, open courseware, massive open online courses, flipped classrooms, and learning strategies. He has written four textbooks and 80 refereed technical papers, and his opinion editorials have appeared in the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune.

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