Thursday, August 24, 2006

Team assignments

The team assignments have been made, following a different prioritization of criteria than I had originally intended. I don't think any loss of function will result, though.

I'd originally meant to put teams together based first upon schedule compatibility, second upon location of residence (both of which facilitate meeting arrangements), third upon like academic interests, and finally upon compatibility and complementarity of comfort levels in speaking in front of others. I'd gone so far as to put together a rough draft of teams made by following these criteria.

While walking into campus this morning, however, I had second thoughts, and seriously considered the criteria Maggie'd suggested to me, letting common academic interest be the primary criterion. (Thanks, honey!) It really does make sense: since this course is a terrifyingly unfamiliar one for most of the participants (including me!), any measure of "safety" or "security" I can provide the students as they prepare for the semester will surely encourage them further. If this means grouping students with folks from their own departments, then that's what it means.

As a result, the criteria I ultimately used to craft the groups are ranked as follows:

  1. commonality of academic major or interest
  2. compatibility of schedules
  3. location of residence
  4. complementarity of comfort levels in speaking in front of others and in doing mathematics
I'm quite satisfied with the groups that resulted, and have already gotten good feedback from the students, both on the groups themselves and on the means by which they were constructed.

I spent about an hour this morning putting together notes for tomorrow's discussion of Vectors in Their Natural Habitats. The materials to be used (a PowerPoint presentation and a Mathematica file) are available on the course website for those who are truly interested.

Tally ho!

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