Math 8 End-of-Semester Reflections

Please answer the following questions electronically in the Week 14 slot by Sunday, May 5, at midnight. Comments on group projects will be available by May 9 at the end of your Week 14 file. If you prefer to answer one or more of these questions privately, you may respond to me by e-mail.

0) Have you submitted responses for weeks 5 through 13? (This is the minimum requirement for satisfactory completion of the course. Folders should be complete by Sunday May 5 at midnight.) Yes.

1) How has your view of yourself in relationship to mathematics changed over the course of the semester?

To be honest, this course - perhaps the content, perhaps the goals, perhaps the structure - has only reinforced my previous relationship with math. This relationship is one of interest and entertainment, not practicality. At least math has proven that it can be fun at times.

2) For you, what are the most positive and the most negative aspects of the course? Would you suggest any major changes in structure or emphasis?

The electronic business really got in the way a the beginning. I felt like we were wasting valuable class time. Otherwise the structure of the course was good, it allows one to get out of it what he or she wants. I wuld suggest taht more time in class be spent focussing on the book itself, and references made to teh book. in this way main ideas can really be stressed.

3) Comment at length on the concept of the paperless course. What are the advantages or disadvantages of this approach? In what ways could such an approach work in other courses?

I thought it was an interesting approach, and should be continued in this course. in a class with frequent assignments, this is convenient. The biggest bonus is the links one can make and the literally limitless possibilities for the direction and content of responses. I’m sure it has made things much more interesting for you.

4) Comment on your experiences with the technology used in the course. What can be done to make things easier in the future?

I don't know much about computers. It seemed like this approach was easy enough once you got the hang of it.

5) Describe your experience with the weekly assignments and the "response from Prof. B." feature. Comment on the public nature of these interchanges, and the possibility of linkings among student work and communication with the other class members. To what extent did you read the submissions of other students (and/or the professor's responses)?

I did not exchange ideas much with other students, though it is a terrific idea and should not be discontinued. I had a heavy workload this semester and I can not converse mathematically on the same level as those who had the greatest motivation to exchange ideas. For these reasons I did not take advantage of all the resources offered by the paperless course. I did not think privacy was a problem. If anything, the public nature of the responses provided an impetus for students to work harder.

6) Describe in some detail your activities as part of your final project team.

I had a lot of pressure put on me for the final project, for my softball story was to be the center piece. The story like aspect of it drove me to put in my best effort. I put in quite a bit of time, and had to be done earlye to allow ample time for the other group members to offer their advice. In the end I was fiercely proud of what and done. My group was great, we all encouraged eachother and pushed each other to do a really comprehensive project. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I could barely help but get it done ahead of time.

7) In the old days, the final project was mostly an individual effort, on the order of a ten-page paper. How would you characterize the experience of working on a team, and how did that affect your effort in the final project?

First of all, working with a team first of all was necessary for getting everybody’s work on line. I liked the group effort and thought it was consistent with the course. These last three months, every time we’ve turned in an assignment, the whole class has been able to read it. We have bounced ideas off of each other, done presentations, made models and done other group activities. The groups helped in the overall learning endeavor, having to interact closely with so many different ideas.

Prof. Banchoff's response