Professor Diane Evans would prefer that her students talk in class rather than take notes. In fact, she even hands out lecture notes at the beginning of class to save students the trouble of writing everything down. That may sound unorthodox, but Evans believes much of the real learning comes through interaction.
"It's almost like we're having a conversation, doing examples, and filling in the gaps."
She's a big believer in real-world examples, using bottled water taste tests and hands-on studies of M&M manufacturing defects to help students connect with tough concepts.
She uses dice, cards and statistical puzzles.
"I'm a very visual person," says Evans. "I have to see pictures, diagrams and have hands-on examples. I find it works well for them, too."
Beyond making tough concepts easier to grasp, Evans' approach sets a fun and informal tone that seems to resonate with students.
With what she puts into each class, students can see that Evans is working just as hard as they are, and that makes a positive and inspirational impression.
"They see that I love it, and they try to appreciate what I am showing them," she says. And that, in turn, is a source of great joy for her. "There is nothing better than talking about mathematics and statistics with students who are interested in learning the subject." A Six Sigma black belt, Evans was named one of the Princeton Review’s Best 300 Teachers in 2012.