Mon Jan 26 16:52:11 2004 : I really do not like the group problems. I find it a waste of time and energy to lug a book to class, and spend half the class doing 2 problems. I did not learn anything from that today except that I do not want to go to section. I think that section would be a lot better if you just taught. You do an excellent job explaning things and are an excellent gsa in that sence. I just feel that it would be more productive and efficient for you to go over some problems and then write the problems on the board should you want us to do a few practice problems. If you wrote practice problems on the board students wouldnt have to carry their books to class. Also, I feel that when we work in groups, the enviornment of the classroom becomes very trapped. I feel very confined and although attendence, hw, and participation as well as working in groups may be good skills to have, they are not essential towards the grading of this course. I understand that 3 hours of discussion a week may be lot of time to fill with content and questions, but I would rather leave early then waste half an hour of my life feeling like im trapped and wasting time.
Tue Jan 27 13:05:49 2004 : John: Thank you for your feedback. (1) About lugging the book to class: I will try (as much as I can without wasting class time) to write the problems on the board so you do not have to lug your book around. I know that cannot be fun. (2) About feeling cramped: I feel cramped in the class, too! But I find this even when all of you are sitting down. I hope that the number of people in the class will stabilize so this won't be as much of a problem. Maybe we can find a way to arrange the chairs so there is more room at the boards? (3) About inefficiency of working in groups: There are definitely good things and bad things about working in groups. It seems to me to be a lot more fun to speak to you individually and in groups rather than lecture to you. Just sitting and listening to explanations and someone else's solutions is not very helpful as a preparation for exams. But I agree, the pace of section up to now has been slow. I will try to pick up the pace a bit, and I will brainstorm some other ideas (and try to rebalance the amount of time spent lecturing versus being in groups) to see if I can cover everyone's learning style.
Thu Jan 29 21:54:13 2004 : John: Thanks to all who answered my light questionnaire. Many of you announced pretty boring goals, such as to get an "A" in the class or to fill a prerequisite, but many still opted for less extrinsic outcomes, such as to gain an understanding of calculus and to connect math to reality. I encourage each of you to develop an intrinsic motivation for calculus, such as mastery of the material. And what about HAVING FUN? That's one of my big goals for the course and I hope it will soon be one of yours. The list of obstacles, almost without exception, places the onus on y'all: failure to devote enough time to the class, laziness, procrastination, apathy, failure to go to section or to lecture, failure to do the homework. I hope I can be some amount of positive encouragement so you can each overcome these obstacles, if they apply. For those who felt they need more individual attention, or have other anxieties, I encourage you to come to my office hours and I can help you out. :)
Wed Feb 4 15:51:31 2004 : John: Two errors have been reported on the homework solutions. On HW #1, section 2.2, #8(e), the equations of the vertical asymptotes are x=-3, x=2, and x=5. See the definition on page 100 and the examples that follow, it is OK if the left and right limits differ.
On HW #2, section 2.4, 2(a), the first inequality is incorrect. To get within 0.01 of 29, you need 28.99 <= 6x-1 <= 29.01. Then you should *add* 1 to get 29.99 <= 6x <= 30.01, and dividing by 6 you get the answer given, which is 4.99833... <= x <= 5.00166....
Please send HW errors to me, or you can post questions about them here!
Mon Feb 16 17:45:39 2004 : John: One student has voiced the following concern: "In (Tuesday/Thursday) lecture, it is hard to read the board (even when you are sitting in the front row, one small stroke of chalk can really change a problem) and it is hard to keep up with all of listening to the instructor, copying down the proofs of the theorems, and digesting the material. Can notes be made available?"
She has this to say: "For some students we are moving quite slow, and for some other students - fast, so I am keeping in the middle as much as can... Some people cannot both take notes and understand on the spot everything that is going on: this is very natural... So, the student in question shouldn't feel that he/she is experiencing something out of the ordinary. I myself needed to digest material at home after reading carefully my class notes: there is nothing shameful in that, and one has to accept that people learn at their own
(different) pace... I have regular students coming to every single office hours with their class notes already marked on the spots where they have questions. And once there is the possibility of not going to lecture but just having the notes ready, some students will become lazy and abuse the situation thinking that they can skip lectures and learn just by reading the notes. There are hundreds of students in lecture and many of them are taking diligent
notes. If a student has trouble writing and listening, I suggest that he/she makes an arrangement with a classmate to copy his/her notes, or they can alternate taking notes and listening in class."
Wed Feb 18 15:34:39 2004 : John: I double-checked and it seems that the
Midterm Review is downloadable and printable. Go to the instructor's
Thu Feb 19 11:02:47 2004 : John: I guess my CGI script went down last night, but I guess it's back up and working now...
Tue Feb 24 14:18:45 2004 : On the midterm, will there be word questions? Such as "define blah blah blah".
Fri Feb 27 02:29:20 2004 : Do you know when we get our midterms back?
Sat Feb 28 12:37:19 2004 : John, your an awesome gsi!
Sat Mar 13 15:44:40 2004 : John: Sorry I missed these comments, the mail I send myself when a comment is posted was being eaten by my spam filter. :) I hope you all are enjoying the great weather!