Dear Professor Banchoff,
here is my end of semester reflection. The first answer is yes, to my knowledge I have submitted everything. Whether it has all come to you is another story, but after you receive this and wk 11, I think all is well.
My view of myself in regards to mathematics has changed in two ways this semester. The first way was strictly positive. I went into this class with very few expectations, and shaped the class according to subjects and conversations I was interested in, namely art. The class, and therefore mathematics, seemed to relate surprisingly well to many discussions I have been having with various artist and thoughtful friends of mine, most of which think they despise math. I have also realized, however, that in order to understand fully some of the artistic concepts that my friends and I want to develop, it is important to not only have a theoretical understanding of the task, but a strong foundation in math. Often I felt throughout this course that if I had been able to apply what I was learning to higher mathematical theorems, I could have applied it to the art and literature I was studying outside of the course.
The most positive and negative aspect of this course was the same thing: the amorphous nature of the lectures. On the one hand, it reemphasized the idea that there were an infinite number of subjects that could be related back to math. Regardless of the model or the package or the topic that was brought up each day, it corresponded with the lesson and the reading the night before. I also love electronic communication, even though it has been a pain not having a computer of my own. It makes me feel like you and the rest of the class are so much more accessible. The negative aspects of the lectures, however, was that sometimes I wanted a more hardcore lesson plan. I couldn't quite voice the questions I had because I didn't understand what I was asking, and yet I was hungry for more concrete development of the book and subjects such as how the higher dimension plays into perspective in art. Also, the films were extremely helpful, as were the models, even though after Krazy Glueing my fingers together, I gave up on my overzealous sixteen hypercube structure.
No negative comments about the paperless aspect of this course. It did nothing but benefit the class. I personally think all classes should be like this, in order to spark discussion and rapport between the professor, the TA if relevant, and class. For many classes, Section attempts to do this, but I find that people are more concise and more interesting when they write.
The technology was a pain for me, only because my files would not come up on the web. How to change this--I am not sure.
I read a good deal of other students' responses. I found it extremely interesting how each student filtered this class through their brain--what they were interested in, what they enjoyed. Like I said before, the paperless aspect of this course was what I loved the most. I liked the dialogue or the potential dialogue with the professor. I realized, however, with the inter class dialogue how insecure I am about expressing myself about math. I think I am used to classes in which I have a lot of educated, somewhat intelligent things to say, and a big challenge for me this semester was not to be overwhelmed by the experience and the understanding of some of my classmates.
For the final project, I first surfed the net, and came up with very little. Most maze art on the Web is homogenous and recreational, and I was more interested in art movements, classical or modern. I had been assigned to design a page and links to that page on Mazes in Art throughout Time. There was little information that I could find on this topic regarding movements in maze art or movements that incorporated mazes a good deal. After hunting through Josiah and the Reference Desk and finding only a few relevant articles, I came across a gem of a book, I Labirinto, which is entirely dedicated to Mazes in art, concentrating on the symbolism, the human fascination, and the psychology. The downside and the time consuming factor of my project was that the book was written in Portuguese, and unfortunately, I had not left the two weeks necessary to hunt a translation down in English. But using my French and Spanish knowledge, and a Portuguese dictionary, I was able to pick through it, supplementing my page with some beautiful pictures. To be honest, I would have loved more time to have done this project more justice, but that was the fault of bad time management. Once I had the book, I really enjoyed researching this project, but until then, it was extremely frustrating due to insufficient information.
I have no comments on working as a team. It helped to have the computer skills of Envall and Caroline, but working as an individual would have been interesting and challenging as well. It didn't affect my effort, except in terms of our group's personal deadlines.
if you have any more questions about me and the class, please email me.
Prof. Banchoff's response