Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Aftermath (no pun intended)

Now that the dust had cleared...I checked the rolls this morning to find that two folks have dropped from 365 (did I scare them away?), and with the two folks I let in this morning, we're sitting on a healthy 30 students. There are three more who need to get registered for whom I've already either filled out exception forms or indicated that I would do so, so we might end up at 33. Fine by me.

I wanted to indicate one minor meta matter to blog regulars: I've re-enabled commenting for non-Blogger registrants, so you CAN post anonymously if you would like to, but I've enabled word verification for comment posting, which shouldn't be a hindrance unless you have profound visual impairment of some sort.

Thus...feel free to comment away. I'd prefer if you provide your identity in some form when commenting (particularly if you're a student of mine!), but I certainly can't require it.

Today's preparation for 365 involves setting up the graph for tomorrow's Toss 'n' Sort escapade, and getting things ready for tomorrow's discussion of team work.


Anonymous said...

2 people dropped out already? I'm guessing that's after they read the syllabus. It's probably not you that scared them away, it's all the required papers and the "mini-symposium." I knew this wasn't going to be a traditional math class, but the written work and presentation sadly remind me of horrid Humanities courses. And that's not good!

DocTurtle said...

It's not my intention for the syllabus to be frightening! If it happens to be frightening, I apologize!

Rather, I intend only that the syllabus provide full disclosure: it's only fair that folks know what they're getting into up front.

Further, I feel that aspects of the course such as the written work and presentations are essential components in learning how to do and to communicate mathematics effectively. These are projects on which work will be done incrementally, a little bit at a time, working together a number of other people in the class, over the course of the semester. There's no reason to fear these projects: you'll never be alone in working on them!

I hope this assuages fears somewhat...

Anonymous said...

I completely appreciate your efforts and understand your point. On the other hand, you might just be catering to the wrong croud! Most people in 365 are math minors; they do not need to learn how to "communicate mathematics effectively." In fact, they will probably never have to work in the field of math itself. They (or may I say, we) minor in math to enhance their (our) experience of the original material, the major--be it chemistry, medicine, or engineering.

But hey, you put the effort into this, and we will cooperate as the framework for one big "team." Those who do not like the system and are not willing to try it out, may simply drop the course. I just wanted to share my 2-cents.

DocTurtle said...

And please understand that I very much appreciate your two cents!

I think that being able to communicate mathematics effectively, though admittedly a slightly different skill than being able to communicate, say, chemistry or atmospheric science effectively, has enough in common with technical writing in other scientific fields that knowledge of one will greatly enhance knowledge of another. I'm not teaching technical writing in chemistry because I'm not a chemist!

There's more to the course than writing a paper and presenting it, thankfully! We're still going to spend a good deal of time learning the foundational knowledge lying at the heart of Linear Algebra, something we can all use. I hope I've done a decent job making those intentions clear, and if I haven't, I apologize!

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. From what you've said it sounds like you're in the class, and I hope you choose to stay!