We want everyone to succeed in this class and learn as much as we can, not only about “course content” but also about ourselves and a glimpse into our thinking processes.
The main skills of this course which go beyond your mathematical training are
- absorbing new and foreign concepts, and
- precise and concise communication.
To get the most out of this course, I suggest the following:
- Not falling behind at the early stages
- This course does not have a final exam and the assessment is centered around your homework, your active participation in the class, and your contribution to our discussions. My experience of teaching this course shows that your active participation early on is one of the most deciding factors in your success in this course.
- You should do many many practices on your own.
Works, first and foremost! That is to say, doing, doing, doing! The ‘faith’ that goes with it will soon put in an appearance - you can be sure of that! 1
- Connect with other focused students
- No matter the facet of life, focused and successful people inspire those they’re around. Find a study buddy whose work ethic you admire and discuss math together.
- Stay mentally and physically healthy
- Online students are likely to spend more time at their computers than traditional learners, making it a health imperative to take breaks, go on walks, get a fair amount of sleep (I do at least eight hours.), and eat good food.
- Pre-class preparation
- Prepare for learning before class by reading the lesson of that week.
- Limit distractions
- Unfortunately, it is one the saddest facts of our existence that we live in a digital world ridden with distraction from attending to life.2 Mathematics, like any other higher form of human activity needs higher level and duration of attention and concentration. Therefore, I recommend that if you bring any digital devices to class, you try as hard as possible to put those useless notifications off! Your whole attention should be paid for the illusive concepts we are trying to grasp, like catching a fresh fish from a cold river. One moment of distraction is sometimes enough to lose what you have toiled to grasp. As Orwell observed
To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.
Collaboration improves the effectiveness of deliberate practice. With the exception of assessments, we encourage you to discuss course activities with your friends and classmates as you are working on them. You will definitely learn more in this class if you work with others than if you do not. If you are helping another student, don’t just tell them the answer; they will learn very little and run into trouble on assessments. Instead, try to guide them toward discovering the solution on their own. Practice is most effective when it builds on what we already know; feedback is most helpful when it addresses specific areas for improvement.
In addition to collaborating with other students, the course staff are here to personalized feedback. Your teaching assistant (TA) is your mentor and guide to the course. Your TA can help you get the most out of the class and achieve the highest possible understanding of course concepts.