Are high school and college anachronisms?

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Stebben84
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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby Stebben84 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:44 pm

Just saw a link to this. http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses

Yale, Stanford, MIT, and other universities are offering free online courses. I tried to open the link, but the server keeps crashing. You can open up a cached version and find the links to the respective classes. Just thought I'd post in case someone wanted to brush up on their physics or chemistry.

Online education is becoming more and more prevalent, and it's great to see universities starting to offer up some free services. It's not going to get you a degree, but at least you can supplement your skills and maybe use that to get a raise.

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby WestSideYuppie » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:21 pm

bleurose wrote:Dated a math grad student for a while and it was his firm opinion that anything less than math 221 ('grown-up' calculus, not the apparently weak-kneed 211) was remedial math.

I noticed the same attitude when I was teaching college algebra. I think it's both a symptom and a cause. If people hate teaching the lower level courses, and don't respect the students, then they shouldn't be teaching them. No wonder nobody can pass calculus.

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby lukpac » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:15 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote:
bleurose wrote:Dated a math grad student for a while and it was his firm opinion that anything less than math 221 ('grown-up' calculus, not the apparently weak-kneed 211) was remedial math.

I noticed the same attitude when I was teaching college algebra. I think it's both a symptom and a cause. If people hate teaching the lower level courses, and don't respect the students, then they shouldn't be teaching them. No wonder nobody can pass calculus.


I still remember my freshman year calc 222 professor. To say he wasn't in touch with his students would be an understatement, at least from my perspective. At one point my graphing calculator broke and I went to him asking for his advice on a new one. He basically just told me "you shouldn't need a calculator". And then there was the lecture where the TAs asked him to go over something multiple times until he eventually confused himself and ended the lecture 10 minutes early. Not surprising that he was mocked on a daily basis in a comic in one of the student papers.

A few years ago (about 10 years after the fact) I noticed he was rated one of the 10 worst professors at UW.

bdog
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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby bdog » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:26 pm

I had Hellerstein? for 221.

In my capricious memory he looks like a young Joe Paterno.

That reminds me...

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby WestSideYuppie » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:42 pm

lukpac wrote:
WestSideYuppie wrote:
bleurose wrote:Dated a math grad student for a while and it was his firm opinion that anything less than math 221 ('grown-up' calculus, not the apparently weak-kneed 211) was remedial math.

I noticed the same attitude when I was teaching college algebra. I think it's both a symptom and a cause. If people hate teaching the lower level courses, and don't respect the students, then they shouldn't be teaching them. No wonder nobody can pass calculus.


I still remember my freshman year calc 222 professor. To say he wasn't in touch with his students would be an understatement, at least from my perspective. At one point my graphing calculator broke and I went to him asking for his advice on a new one. He basically just told me "you shouldn't need a calculator". And then there was the lecture where the TAs asked him to go over something multiple times until he eventually confused himself and ended the lecture 10 minutes early. Not surprising that he was mocked on a daily basis in a comic in one of the student papers.

A few years ago (about 10 years after the fact) I noticed he was rated one of the 10 worst professors at UW.


On the first day of my algebra class, a student asked me if it would be OK to use a graphing calculator for exams. I had already seen the previous year's exams, so I confidently told my student that a calculator wouldn't help.

The syllabus, textbook, and exams, could have been from the 1950's.

It breaks my heart, because I love math.

lukpac
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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby lukpac » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:44 pm

Ack, this is almost 7 years old? Where does the time go?

Anatole Beck, a long-tenured professor in the department of mathematics, is among those who bear the brunt of students' freedom of speech. Several postings on RateMyProfessors.com label him the "worst professor ever." Out of 38 reviews, none offer up the yellow smiley icon.

"It is impressive how horrible he teaches, tests, and basically inflicts damage to your mathematical understanding," one student declares. Another shares a formula for Beck's performance: "Here's some math for you: Beck = Bad."


http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/art ... ticle=2103

http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRat ... tid=457988

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby Igor » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:48 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote:On the first day of my algebra class, a student asked me if it would be OK to use a graphing calculator for exams. I had already seen the previous year's exams, so I confidently told my student that a calculator wouldn't help.

The syllabus, textbook, and exams, could have been from the 1950's.

It breaks my heart, because I love math.


This may appear snarky, but it is a serious question. Has algebra changed that much since the 50's or 80's? I'm just wondering what is covered now that wasn't covered before, that would require the use of a calculator.

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby lukpac » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:50 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote:On the first day of my algebra class, a student asked me if it would be OK to use a graphing calculator for exams. I had already seen the previous year's exams, so I confidently told my student that a calculator wouldn't help.

The syllabus, textbook, and exams, could have been from the 1950's.

It breaks my heart, because I love math.


What's amusing is I had another calc professor there that was all for graphing calculators.

Whatever the case, I loved math up to college. When I got to UW, though, it turned into to something I just had to do. Not fun.

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby snoqueen » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:06 pm

Has algebra changed that much since the 50's or 80's? I'm just wondering what is covered now that wasn't covered before, that would require the use of a calculator.


I went back and did a 2-year degree in a technical field at MATC in 2006 after being in an unrelated field for 35 years, so I had to learn to use an engineering or graphing calculator for the first time.

It's just faster, that's all. You can generate a graph on there faster than you can draw one, and you can use logarithms far faster than you can looking them up one by one. The old slide-rule guys would have said they could get an answer just as fast as a calculator, but it's a moot point because nobody would do that today.

You can get the same results if you know how to use Excel fluently, so you can prove it to yourself without even getting up from the computer.

Algebra and trig haven't changed at all, but the tools have.

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby WestSideYuppie » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:47 pm

Igor wrote:This may appear snarky, but it is a serious question. Has algebra changed that much since the 50's or 80's? I'm just wondering what is covered now that wasn't covered before, that would require the use of a calculator.

That's certainly a fair question, and sufficiently open to debate that I can't claim to have a definitive answer. And I have some good friends who are math teachers, and have debated the same topic with them.

One thing I know for sure: How I do math, and how I communicate math results, have changed dramatically since my mom taught me algebra in 1977.

Perhaps, rather than saying that algebra has changed, it's worth thinking about what should be taught in the last math course that the typical non-STEM student will ever take. I think that we have to somehow fit computation into a "terminal" math course without dumbing it down. There are high school teachers who are doing this already, and their students come out ahead of the game in math when they get to college.

Now, I don't know how to use a graphing calculator. I owned a PC before graphing calculators came out. I absolutely love Excel. People at my workplace who claim to be terrible at math, are capable of doing some pretty elaborate calculations using Excel.

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby bleurose » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:27 am

I actually kinda liked math until I got to 222 and then I was completely lost. In defense of the long-ex-boyfriend, at the time, UW was offering what seemed like a bazillion sections of remedial math, course numbers starting with zeros and, if memory serves, either no credit or only one credit for five day a week classes. These were what amounted to junior high & high school math (or now what would classify as grade school math, based on helping some nieces & nephews recently) and apparently a lot of students had to take these before they could even attempt algebra or trig at the college level. So I did rather sympathize with the view about what was 'remedial math'.

I also remember Anatole Beck although I had the good fortune to never have him for a class. My memory is that his prime focus in his career was to see how often he could lodge complaints against UW for one thing or another and get his name in the paper and all under the umbrella of "they can't do anything to me, I've got tenure". He is the poster child for what is wrong with tenure.

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby rabble » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:57 am

I had trouble with calculus but I managed to pass them, including linear algebra, with fair to middling grades. Needed some tutoring for linear algebra.

It wasn't until the upper level engineering classes where we had to turn engineering problems into calculus equations that I lost it completely. I usually got the math right but never the equations. I always missed one variable or assigned them just a little bit wrong. And for some reason, in those courses the only thing that mattered was getting the right answer. I ended up switching majors.

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby lukpac » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:03 pm

bleurose wrote:I also remember Anatole Beck although I had the good fortune to never have him for a class. My memory is that his prime focus in his career was to see how often he could lodge complaints against UW for one thing or another and get his name in the paper and all under the umbrella of "they can't do anything to me, I've got tenure". He is the poster child for what is wrong with tenure.


Never heard that before, but amusing.

Found this, not updated since last summer:

http://abeckcomment.blogspot.com/

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby WestSideYuppie » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:36 pm

About the "remedial" courses, what a college can offer for credit is determined by the accreditation boards. That's got its pro's and con's. It prevents dumbing-down the Bachelors degree. But it imposes an arbitrary and perhaps outdated curriculum on the "terminal" math course that most non-STEM students take.

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Re: Are high school and college anachronisms?

Postby grumpybear » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:21 pm

I'm a vague acquaintance of Prof. Beck. I was a grad student at the UW during late 80's-early 90's. We had a friendly Friday afternoon bridge game going in the Math lounge on Friday afternoons. The grad students in the dept. were actually quite fond of him. They also realized that some students did not have, um, good results learning calculus from him. Not sure what you do in this situation. He was a very strong advocate of the position that the professors should be guiding the direction of the U. I think that mindset is contrary to what we have seen since the age of Shalala. Much more business-like now.
BTW, I had Issacs for 222 and 223. I can't remember who I had for 221. I think it was Robbin. That was back in the undergrad days, 1974-78.


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