Math 566

This page will be used to post response to feedback. I will try to explain why I am or am not taking the suggested actions. Of course I will not post every feedback that I receive; reserving the right to not post positive ones that I do not think require a reply as well as negative ones that are inappropriate (though feel free to send positive ones as well, it is helpful for me to know what you think is working well in the class.)

February 7, 2007

Feedback: I think the homework assignments are to long. We are generally doing 20-30 problems, however these problems take a very long time and can be extremely frustrating to figure out. It is very difficult, and time consuming, to try and solve problems using the limited number of examples we get in class. It just seems like the assignments are taking way too much time for a 3 credit hour course.

Response: Individual homework comprises 35% of your final grade, so it should be difficult and time consuming. There are more examples given in the textbook as well as the handouts. This is a 500 level course so you are expected to be able to read the textbook on your own without having every example presented at the blackboard. The number of problems you have been given each week thus far has been: 1/12/07: 24 problems (over 1.5 weeks), 1/19/07: 15 problems, 1/26/07: 14 problems, 2/2/07: 16 problems, 2/9/07: 22 problems. So you really are not generally doing 20-30 problems per week, you are actually doing about 17 problems every 7 days. It is expected that you spend at least 2 hours outside of class for every 1 hour in class, so you should be spending at least 6 hours per week outside of class on this material. So even if 2 hours of that is spent just reading the material, that leaves 4 hours for homework problems. Some of the problems may take 20-30 minutes to figure out, but others will take 1-2 minutes. You have also been encouraged to work in groups which would speed up the homework.

January 21, 2007

Feedback: I think a batch of sample problems (in the book or otherwise) and a set of soultions would be very helpful for studying for the midterm. It would give us more practice and allow us to see what kind of stuff you will be testing us on. I'd really appreciate a set of sample problems and solutions (or maybe just questions in the book that have solutions in the back) that would allow us to practice more. You could even send out an email that contains the numbers since you won't be here all this week. Thanks!

Response: You should view the homework problems as a guide for what will be on the exam. I hesitate to recommend sample problems because when an exam problem turns out to be different from ones recommended some people will undoubtably be upset and complain. If you would like more problems to work, I suggest you just go through and do the ones that were not assigned but are similar to the ones assigned. If I assigned #19 and it turns out #18 is solved in the back of the book, go ahead and work #18 for practice.

January 15, 2007

Feedback: Will you please talk about the last theorem in ch 6.3? It's the one that says; n = n1 + n2 + n3 + ... + nk, so N(perm) = n!/n1!n2!n3!...nk! I have no clue why it's there.

Response: If you recall in class we talked about how many distinguishable ways we could rearrange the letters of "Honolulu". What Theorem 6.4.2 is doing is telling you a formula that you could apply to solve this problem if you didn't want to think about it. However, I would encourage you to ignore the statement of the theorem and focus on the method we used in class to solve the problem. I often find in these counting arguments it can be difficult to remember which theorem to apply to which situation, so if you know the basics and can use them to get the correct answer without appealing to all of the specialized theorems you are in a much better situation. If you'd still like an explanation of where that formula comes from, let me know and I can show you.

January 12, 2007

Feedback: A few things, I was wondering if you could possible do just one more example of the binomial theorem. Also, I think it would be helpful if you could write a little larger on the board. Finally, I know this one is a harder habit to get used to, but I think its really helpful when you are writing the problem on the board if you could read what your writing as you write it. This allows students to copy what you are saying and not have to look up at the board while trying to copy. Thanks.

Response: We will do a couple more examples of the binomial theorem in class. I will also work on the writing larger and saying what I am writing. Please feel free to let me know during class if I begin to write too small as well. The very limited blackboard space in our classroom can be a negative influence on my writing size, so a reminder is always helpful!