Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meeting with My Student

In addition to tips about hair dye, it turns out that my student also wanted some advice about which math class to take over the summer.

This student was in my honors seminar this past fall and was planning on majoring in one of the humanities that sometimes gives a BFA degree instead of a BA degree. Or maybe in one of the social sciences that everyone majors in. She was rather undecided in the way of someone who just can't decide about all of the interesting things to study.

Turns out that one of her interests is science, but she didn't take that much science in high school because she didn't see herself as good at science. This past fall she took Calculus Lite (from someone else, found it easy). This semester she's taking General Chemistry for Science and Engineering Majors. She's thinking of majoring in engineering. So she's going to have to take Real Calculus at some point. She wanted to know if she should take our pre-calc course first before taking Real Calculus. I pointed her to ALEKS and showed her where she could do a free trial of their pre-calc and calculus courses -- including an initial assessment of where her skills are now.

She also told me that it's because of my course that she now has the confidence to pursue her interests in science.

This is why I feel so strongly about offering non-major courses that are accessible and that show just how cool math (and science) can be. I highly doubt that College Algebra has won over many students to have an appreciation of mathematics.