Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Math Grades Posted!

Midterm exam - 100%
Assignment #11 - 100%
Assignment #12 - 100%


UPDATE: I was surprised to get a 100% on the exam, but this conforms with my hypothesis that the instructor purposely made the exam quite difficult and did not expect that the student would get every bit of every problem right. And he did email me that it was the "best exam [he] ever graded" so I can see how that would be worthy of full marks in his view. I am more interested than ever now to get the exam comment sheet (which the person in the academic center emailed me to say she is looking for) and see how close I came on the problems I was skeptical about. I may have performed better than I thought - particularly on the proofy questions. I don't yet have a good handle on what is considered adequate to demonstrate that things are true.

I have the last 3 problems of assignment #17 to finish, then two more assignments. I'm happy with my progress through the last half of the course so far, which is more clearly and obviously dependent on my not having to go to work every day with each passing assignment. I would not have the time, let alone the mental energy, to get through the material at this speed if I were trying to tack it on to the end of a stressful work day.

I don't get the sense that the individuals I have dealt with are complete idiots, and my instructor is clearly not stupid, but the whole thing strikes me as very disorganized. This class has been a good demonstration that merely having a knowledgeable professor on staff and having your web site up and running is not sufficient to ensure that the experience for the student is adequate, let alone satisfying. It's not just how slowly everything goes that requires human intervention (which I realize may be exacerbated of late by the fact that it's summer and they may be down-staffed, but that shouldn't be my problem), but the fact that the various people involved don't seem to know what their roles are. And it still boggles my mind that they were unable to inform me, despite having my email address, mailing address, and phone number, that my test was ready at the testing center; whether somebody failed to mail the postcard or the USPS lost it, why couldn't they have followed up with an email at the very least? It is, after all, an online class - it's not like I am not prepared to use a computer - and this is something that could be mostly automated. I also have a great deal of difficulty accepting the idea that their testing center staff are somehow busier than the people at my dentist or doctors' offices who call to remind me of my appointment and thus cannot be expected to call and tell me that my test is ready. (I'm willing to accept that my experience the morning of my test may not be typical, and that they do not always have staff sitting around doing nothing but chatting with each other about what they did last night to staff helping customers in a ratio of 4:1, but these people do not look fully employed. I wonder if most of them are on work-study and have the level of dedication and productivity we have all come to expect from student helpers.)


Tam said...

Wow. I didn't expect you to have gotten a 100% on the midterm after your report about it. Congrats!

Tam said...

It's tricky to know how much rigor is required for a proof. Generally if you have a somewhat airtight argument (an understanding in your mind) about why the thing you're proving is true, and can put down enough on the paper to show the argument to someone else, it's enough. I'm sure that's vastly helpful :-)