Math Forum

Math 198-01, Fall 2020, Harvey Mudd College
Dagan Karp

Catalogue Description

The goal of this course is to improve students' ability to communicate mathematics, both to a general and technical audience. Students will present material on assigned topics and have their presentations evaluated by students and faculty. This format simultaneously exposes students to a broad range of topics from modern and classical mathematics.


Dagan Karp ("firstinitiallastname"

Useful Resources

Advice from Joseph Gallian
Technically Speaking Videos
Beamer Examples and Guide
Wikipedia Beamer Article
Neil deGrasse Tyson


Your course grade will be based on your talks, in-class critiques, written peer evaluations, and a class journal. There will be 100 points available, and the breakdown will be as follows.

We will discuss this point distribution in class, and we may modify if the class desires. In addition, we will decide a rubric for awarding points in each category as a class.


Although we may have guests visiting us from time to time, the assumed audience for all of your talks will be your Math Forum classmates. You may therefore assume that your audience is familiar with the HMC core curriculum and Math 55, but you should not assume they are all familiar with all of the content of our upper-division mathematics courses. Also, all talks that use slides may be presented using Beamer. See the resources above for assistance in preparing your talks using Beamer, and don't be shy about asking around about Beamer--many students on campus know it well.


Create a journal for the course. Here, you will record pre- and post-talk reflection.
This document should be a Google doc, named lastname_m198_f20_journal.

Teams, Practicing, Reflecting, and Uploading

Students will work in teams to practice talks and give and receive feedback. It's important that you practice and discuss your talks with your teammates. This will help strengthen your talks before you give them in class. Please keep in mind that you will be evaluated especially on the extent to which your talks are clear and compelling.

For each talk, after you meet as a team, and before 11:00 PM on the day before you speak, please enter a pre-talk reflection in your journal answering (using 1-3 substantial sentences per question) the following two questions:

Furthermore, by 11:00 PM on the day before you speak, please upload your talks to your Math 198-01 Sakai drop box. To help me out, please use the following naming scheme for your files: lastname-talk2.pdf or lastname-talk3.pdf. (For example, I would upload something called karp-talk2.pdf for my second talk, karp-talk3.pdf for my third talk, and so on. Note: There will be no slides for your first talk.)

Peer Evaluations

Step 1
For each round of talks, you will be submitting evaluations of at least two of your classmate's talks. Please submit your evaluations by using your section's evaluation Google Doc:

by 11:00 PM the next day (i.e. Tuesday night). You will make written comments on the
  1. Organizational structure, flow, intro, conclusion
  2. Body language, voice inflection, gestures
  3. Visuals: words, images, use of color
  4. Clarity of explanations, amount of information, context, background
In the written evaluations, please aim to give a compliment and a suggestion for each of the areas above, and add any further comments about your overall impression of the talk and the preparedness/effectiveness of the speaker.

Step 2
You will receive an automated response receipt from the google form upon submission. Note: Feedback is not anonymous.

Five Point Scale for Five Minute Talks

We will decide a rubric collectively and record the result here. The collective rubric as as follows:

Talks will be awarded one point for each of the following components.

Note that the above include both self-evaluation and information available to the class as a whole. Self-evaluation should be included as post-talk reflection in your journal, including a numerical self-evaluation score.


HMC is committed to providing an inclusive learning environment and support for all students. Given our current online learning environment, we recognize that the challenges facing students are different and student accommodation needs may change. Students with a disability (including mental health, chronic or temporary medical conditions) who may need some accommodation in order to fully participate in this class are encouraged to contact Educational Accessibility Services at to request accommodations. Students from the other Claremont Colleges should contact their home college's disability resources officer.