Friday, September 08, 2006

Dear Diary

Last night I finished reading the first of my students' journal entries. Wonderful insights! These folks have some fantastic ideas, a couple of which I'm already beginning to integrate into the structure of the class.

For instance, beginning this coming Monday I'll be holding informal (but informative!) problem sessions on Monday evenings, for those who'd like the chance to work on the HW with each other in a setting conducive to study. We'll start out in the Math Study Room on the second floor of Rhoades, but if that place doesn't "feel right" for some after-hours linear festivity, we may pop over to some other campus location in the following weeks.

By and large people seem to be settling in and having fun. The two main concerns on most people's minds are (a) the readings, and (b) those darned articles! I think I might have introduced some sample bias on that second point, since the second journal entry solicitation specifically asked the students to write on the issue of the project: "How do you feel about...?" Regarding the first point, while a number of folks are taking the reading in stride and handling it nicely, some others are having trouble digesting the pulp and getting to the real meat of the matter. I sent a pretty detailed e-mail yesterday afternoon giving some more hints as to how to read the text more effectively. I hope that e-mail helps folks direct their studies and make better use of their precious time.

For the most part, though, people are enjoying the class, liking their teams, and getting comfortable with the format. Almost without exception people are having fun with the team activities and the classroom atmosphere, and people seem confident that their teams can handle the semester's rigors.

Today's agenda's got matrix inverses written all over it. After looking at the geometric interpretation of inverses, we'll find out how to make the Markov Dance run backwards.

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