Monday, August 21, 2006

First Day: Part IV

This day's finally drawing to a close.

I've had a little more opportunity to reflect on how 365 went today. I'm still very satisfied with our start.

The Markov Dance went off without a hitch. Many thanks go out to our wonderful team leaders, Bethesda, Kent, and Lorelei (pseudonyms all), for their solid organizational skills and the professional way in which they quickly systematized the process. We were able to do about 15 iterations of the "Dance" in the first 20 minutes or so of class, and as I mentioned in the previous post, the numbers came out beautifully. Well done, all! (If you're a member of the class who's reading this, please pat yourself on the back.)

After we'd done dancing about, it only took a fairly simple hint to get people thinking about how to provide a mathematical structure for the Markov process we witnessed. We spent the next 20 minutes or so understanding this underlying linear model, introducing along the way the two most fundamental objects in linear algebra: the matrix and the vector. (Doooon't worry: much to come on both of these topics in the ensuing weeks!)

I'm especially proud of the ease with which everyone in the class jumped right into working in teams. Again, well done!

We'll spend most of class on Wednesday discussing further aspects of team work, particularly as it regards the research projects on which everyone will be working: how does one work effectively as a member of a team? What expectations will I have for teamwork in this course? What projects will need to be completed in teams?

Of course, we'll start off Wednesday with a fun class exercise. I'll probably go with Toss 'n' Sort, since that game can simultaneously involve as much as a third of the class in a manageable fashion. (I've already made sure none of my colleagues who precede me in Karpen 033 mind me setting up the game board in advance!)

Good day, good day.

But even good days have their ends...

No comments: