Sunday, December 06, 2009

The calm at the center of the storm

It's early, early, early on Sunday morning on the weekend between the last week of class and finals week. I've had a good stack of grading to get through, but I'm about two thirds of the way through that, and tomorrow morning brings the most recent Algebra al Fresco event, a random walk through downtown Asheville.

The semester's ending well. I've been worried about how my philosophical frustrations from a few weeks back might have been adversely affecting the students in my classes (especially Calc I), as I've feared they may have been buffeted by ever-shifting winds. But signs point to students' weather the storm rather well. One Calc I student spoke of being "inspired," and one 280 student said that, despite the difficulty and relative disorderliness of the textbook project, he learned "50% of his understanding of the concepts from the project." That comment, coupled with the envy my Spring 2009 students have shown for my current ones' getting a crack at this assignment, has convinced me that the same assignment, modified to fix the weaknesses it's shown this semester, should be a part of the curriculum for next term's Topology course.

I've still not put much thought into the precise structural details of that course, but it's starting to come together. It's not going to be as tightly structured, and it's going to be highly collaborative, and all assignments will allow unlimited revision and resubmission. Beyond that, who knows?

For now, it's late, and I'm off to bed. I hope to post again tomorrow with pictures of the random walk!

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