Monday, August 25, 2008

Three Classes

  1. This morning my honors class went really well. Because the math building is typically a bazillion degrees (and my classroom is on the 3rd floor), I have the four window a/c units going through most of the class period to hold the temperature in the high 70s. However, these are not "ultra quiet" or even "somewhat quiet" a/c units, so it is impossible to talk over them. I create worksheets that set up scenarios about voting, and I have the students work on them in groups. Once they've worked on them, I stand near the middle of the classroom to talk about the answers. The students seem engaged by the material. Added bonus, I'm teaching the same material in my seminar, so I can recycle the lesson plans.

  2. Today I taught about limits in the Calculus Circus. We spend one day on limits. It's a very Newtonian view of limits. Nothing precise to be found. The clickers did not work AT ALL. Last year, the clickers worked just fine. Today, not a single clicker would connect to the software. Grrrr.... This means that tomorrow I need to spend much time on the phone with tech support so that I can figure out what the hell has gone wrong. Wednesday I'm going to bring the headphone cable for my phone so that if I have to call tech support from class that I can have the class hear what's going on through the lecture hall sound system.

  3. Finally, this afternoon I went to the "lab" session for the CS class that I'm taking. It's just so totally awesome that it is not just math class where students are completely dismissive of the stated prereqs for classes. This is a junior-level programming class in C++ using the linux boxes in the basement of the CS building. The two programming prereq courses have been taught in C++ and C, both in this same linux environment. There are people in my class who have never used C++ or Unix before. Awesome. While I might not be as prepared as I should be, I was at least able to set up my directories the way I wanted them, sftp into my office computer to get the file that I'd been working on over the weekend, and then start editing it in emacs. The TA mocked me for using emacs, but I told him that I had a bad experience with vi back in 1991. (This is true. This is why I used pine instead of elm for my email in grad school because elm used vi. I could never figure out how to save files or exit.)