Michael Matthews: End-of-Semester Reflections

1) How has your view of yourself in relationship to mathematics changed over the course of the semester? ------------- see chapter 9 response for some idea.

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?------------I don't think so. Maybe a bit more direction in some of the lectures materialwise . . . some of the early lectures felt like they were searching for subject matter.

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?-------------- The paperless course is cool to me. My initial problem was that I wasn't going to have the texture of paper to work on (drawing wise), but that medium was satisfied when I learned how to implement the scanner. I think if any kind of interaction is an aim, using the net would probably be necesary. W/ the publicity of activity, direct comments were probably a bit more difficult for you (prof. Banchoff) because you might not have been able to respond directly on the paper to specific things, positive or negative, as you did in Ma0035. I don't think that that class would have worked on the internet, and thus I don't really know how this class would have been like if it was on paper. I think the weekly assignments were a bit more "loose" without paper than if we were turing them in every week with our signature in pen on the paper . . . the web makes the responsibilty of the work seem dimished a bit, for good or bad work. Interesting.

4) Comment on your experiences with the technology used in the course. What can be done to make things easier in the future?---------------- technology fine. Someway to incorporate Fnord would be cool. In terms of the internet, the only problem was getting people on . . . if I wasn't Mark's roommate I don't know if he'd have ever taken the trouble to figure it out. It took me a while myself. Things will probably be easier once everyone is networked. I am glad that I've learned a little bit more about internet.

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)?---------------The weekly assignments were fine. Often I spent a good amount of time while reading the chapters and coming up with things to say; other weeks I was not as inspired. I definitely liked the "response" feature and felt it to be a key aspect each week. Some weeks I read other peoples stuff, but I wouldn't call it extensive exploration of what other people were saying. The fact that the responses are public makes sense to me: often times the responses were questions about the responses, which are totally suitable to be directed to prof. Banchoff, but when the responses had a more general nature, as if people were just letting their minds flow, it was good to have it public because then their would never be those feelings of "he's heard it all before".

6) Describe in some detail your activities as part of your final project team.----------- For our final project, which was polyobjects, we discussed the way in which we thought our project should flow, and then Jeremy handed out task lists for each of us. I ended up doing the sketches and scanning them in (for the applets, etc), writing the bit on Froebel, and also working on the final versions of our first two sections (Slicing, Fold Outs) after the original writing had been done.

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?----------- I enjoyed the group project thing. My perception will probably be skewed because I had gone to high school with two of the other three people in the group and had worked with them before, but working in the group took some pressure off and didn't make me feel like it was all on me, like a 10 page paper would have. Then again, I don't know how much mathematics I learned working on the project (except getting better at Photoshop). Some of that might have been the consequence of our project topic: we chose a summary avenue, but a different way of doing it could've been to attack those things we were not shown in the book as much: Archimedean solids, Schlegel diagrams, more semi-regular solids (I'm disappointed we didn't follow these last two out in greater detail . . . we got set on doing the Applets, which were great, but it prevented any more mathematical exploration as a group and I never took it further myself . . . I guess the library will always be there on a Saturday afternoon when I don't really feel like watching a baseball game or playing tennis or something like that).

Prof. Banchoff's response