Leading a technical discussion is an important skill for a researcher. A major component of this class will be practicing that skill.
The group should meet to assign duties: someone to lead the "large group" discussion, someone to be in charge of pulling together and turning in the written class plan, for each of the "extra" technical papers someone to read it, someone to review the related conferences for other papers that should be read, someone to lead each small group discussion, someone to act as scribe at each small group discussion, someone to be in charge of organizing the after-class report, and someone to present the after-class report at the next class. Each group will lead about 5 lectures, and the duties should be rotated among the members to give broad experience and to distribtue work evenly.
Everyone should read the "main" technical paper carefully, everyone should skim the "background" technical papers, and at least one person should read each of the background technical papers carefully.
Some generic ideas when thinking about discussion topics: what did the paper get right? what did they get wrong? What is the most important idea? How could we generalize the results? How is this paper better/worse/different than the other papers on the same topic we've looked at? How does this paper differ from the other papers your team read as related work? Is this the right way to think about XXX? What problem is this paper trying to solve? Is this really an important problem? Does the paper solve this problem? Do you believe the results/claims of the paper? ...
You may decide in reading the paper or the related work that I've picked the wrong paper for the class and that there is a better one for the class to read. That's fine. Let me know, and we'll change the assigned paper for your class.
Discuss the technical issues of the papers and preparing the discussion plan for the lecture.
Turn in a written discussion plan at the class before the one you will lead. This plan should include a high-level overview of the topics you plan to cover in the "main group" and the topics you plan to cover in the "breakout groups" as well as a list of what each group member's responsibilities are.
Class time will be divided into roughly 3 parts
Example topics for small group discussion:
Meet briefly after class to discuss the issues that came up in the main group discussions and in breakout group discussions. Identify one issue to be discussed at the following lecture (e.g., a point of technical confusion, a summary of the two sides of a debate, a consensus conclusion from a debate, a key issue for future work, ...).
Review the class critiques. Grade them "+", "check", or "-" and send grades to Arun (sorted alphabetically by last name).
Prepare a "master critique" of the main topic of discussion that summarizes the key ideas, contributions, and critiques of the main paper (or related papers) and that highlights any key issues that arose from the critiques and discussion. Before the next class meeting, send this document to Arun (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be posted to the class web page.
The first part of each class meeting will be used to revisit one key issue from the previous discussion. (See above for some suggestions.)
At the April 30 class, turn in a peer review of the members of your group. This peer review will identify any members who go above and beyond the call of duty as well as any who do not meet their responsibilities to the group.