Monday, September 24, 2007

Random thoughts

No time to get much coherent down, but before it slips my mind...

1. Faculty Learning Circles are where ideas come to life. Before today's meeting I spent a good deal of time thinking about what self-authorship would look like in mathematics students: how could it be assessed? In what manner would a self-authored math student behave? Are there warning signs? Once one knows what to look for, how can one go about designing the appropriate activities to facilitate and promote self-authorship? I raised these questions with the small group that convened this afternoon, and it was decided that it might not be a bad idea to start thinking about a conference on Self Authorship Within and Across Disciplines. (No good job goes unpunished!)

2. A few minor homework committee woes creep in: after it came to my attention that a few people had felt steamrolled by forceful personalities, I felt it necessary to send an e-mail to the 280 folks reminding them that there is almost always more than one correct proof to any given proposition. When serving on a committee, this must be kept in mind so that one doesn't turn a blind eye to alternative correct proofs one isn't expecting; when receiving feedback from a committee, this must be kept in mind so that one doesn't feel obligated to thoughtlessly undertake a committee's suggestions: if you're pretty sure your proof is right, perhaps the committee misread your argument, or misunderstood your intentions. Stand by your proof, and take it up with one of the folks on the committee. They're human, too, and every one of us is capable of error. (God knows I've demonstrated that over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over...)

3. ...I could have sworn I had a 3. Never mind.

Everything else is groovy. The Calc I folks are off and running with their team projects on specific heat, those are taking shape before my eyes (love those Mathematica graphs, huh?). In Foundations it's sets, sets, sets, and we're getting ready for Round Three of the newly-rechristened WNC (to includ Western Carolina University and Warren Wilson College as well) Mathematics Problems Group, tomorrow evening at 5:30. Pizza 'n' Putnam, what better combination?

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