Thursday, September 16, 2010

Surviving university-level Math?

I gave a orientation talk this fall to incoming freshmen. It was part of a set of Academic Interest Panels, designed to facilitate the transition from a student's previous life to university life. My contribution was to make them aware of a problem I see with incoming freshmen in their first math class here at Hopkins: That what they expect for math at this level, in terms of workload, focus, level of rigor, expectations of the student's as well as that of the instructors is really very different from the reality. And the transition shock that sometimes results can doom a student's chances in that first class. The talk was entitled
Thriving in University-level Mathematics
It became more than just a warning, however. I wound up giving lots of advice on how to study, how to treat the course and its components, the role of the lectures, recitations, homework, the instructor the TA, etc.

The step from secondary school math to what we offer is quite large.... easy to trip on, so to speak.

Click on the title link to see a PDF of the slides. It's worth a look, I believe. Enjoy.

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