TALLAHASSEE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
DIVISION OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS // DOUG'S FALL 2009 MAINPAGE

Created: Mon. 8.10.2009 & Rev: Wed. 08.26.2009 @ 11:39am
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Fall 2009 Courses Taught by Doug Jones

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Hello, Fall Students!

Main Themes for the Fall 2009 Semester

As you can see from the panel of courses at the far left, I am teaching 2 classes this Fall Semester — Calculus II (MAC 2312-77551) and Liberal Arts Math – 1 (MGF 1106-72246).

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Calc II is considered by many students to be the most difficult of the three (basic) Calculus courses, and it probably is. Here is why. Now that you know something about the Calculus, we need to fill-out your mathematical "tool-kit" with a number of diverse and dispirate techniques which will allow you to attack and solve fairly routine real-world problems. (The really interesting stuff comes later!) So, in fact, this course probably will be your most difficult of the three Calculus courses that you take in your first two years of college, because just as you begin to feel comfortable with one topic, we'll jump right into another topic — seemingly totally unrelated to the first. And this will go on just about the whole semester. You just have to psychologically prepare yourself for this process. You can do it.

However, there is an additional factor at play here, and it is this: Now that you've had Calc I, it is expected that you know Calc I. And there certainly will not be time enough to review what you were supposed to have learned in Calc I. Thus, I recommend review on your own — lots and lots of review on your own.

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Liberal Arts Math – 1 is a survey course designed for non-science majors. It will give you an introductory view of several diverse, interesting, and important topics in mathematics. Every well-educated person in today's technological world should have some knowledge of these topics.

Many of you in LAM1 (Liberal Arts Math – 1) are new students at TCC, and I welcome you wholeheartedly. Many others of you are continuing TCC students, and I am happy to see you in my class. As I am sure you know, math is not a subject that comes easy to everyone — but if it were what would be the fun and challenge of learning it? I truly believe that math is a beautiful subject, and I know that it provides us a useful tool for survival and success in the modern world. I'm sure that we will have to "study hard," and it is my plan that we are going to (a) have a great time, (b) work, work, work, and (c) learn a lot.

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Teaching is a tricky business, because learning is automatic! Whoa! What do I mean by that? We (the universal "we" — human beings) are always learning - - - something. Why? Because there is a feedback-loop in our senses.

What is this feedback-loop? Example: You put your hand on the hot burner of a stove. You get burned. You don't do that again!

The problem in teaching is that we, the teachers, have no way of knowing the content of that feed-back loop in each individual student. Prime example: I want to teach you "two plus two is four." But I yell it very harshly (perhaps because I'm having a bad day, perhaps because the whole class is chattering and I am trying to talk above them, perhaps because I'm just mean — there are a multitude of different reasons). In one kid the feedback-loop goes "Wow! OK. 2+2=4. Neat!" In another kid the feedback-loop goes "Oh-no, he yelled at me. But what did he say? I'm confused. My feelings are hurt. I hate math, and I'm no good at it!"

I'm not judging either student. The first may well be a hard-headed bozo, like I was as a kid, and the second may be a highly creative, sensitive genius-IQ type. Point is: they react differently, and I have no way of knowing exactly what the reaction will be. And they both learned something, although the second student is not learning what I was trying to teach.

By the way. I promise that I will never yell at you (as an individual). I well may raise my voice to the entire class if and when you all start chattering when I'm trying to teach.

So the teachers' problem is to try to teach in such a way that you learn what we are trying to teach — not something else.

You can actually help me in the process of teaching you. How? You can interact with me. You can ask questions. You can summerize in your own words what I just taught you. Remember, it's not just "you." It's not just "me." It's "we."

But above and beyond the actual subject material of these courses and the teaching thereof, I want to talk to you about a "tent," so to speak, under which this whole thing called education takes place. This tent is held up by a common framework of ideas which, if properly investigated and developed, will help you not only tie together and make sense of the subject material within your particular course, but also provide you with a repertoire of general methods of learning and understanding which will be of life-long benefit to you in all your intellectual pursuits.

So, in addition to the actual subject matter covered in your course, I would like you to keep always in mind the following considerations:

  • Your learning style
    • What IS my LEARNING STYLE?
    • Is this material being presented to me in "my" strongest learning style?
    • After the class is over, after the lecture is over, what do I have to do to really learn the stuff we covered in class? That is, in more highbrow language, in what manner will I need to further study and review this material in order to gain an adequate understanding of it?
    • How do I make the information "stick" in my mind, so that I don't forget it?
       
  • The intellectual relationship between Teacher and Learner.
    • Consider the paradigm of the "Big T, Little l" transitioning into the "Little t, big L" —   where
      • T and t stand for the teacher's playing either a greater or lesser role in your education (I am the teacher), and
      • L and l stand for the learner's (that's you) playing a greater or lesser role in your education.
    • At any stage of your education, there is always the question to be asked and answered — "Which of us is the lead-agent in your education?"
    • We all start at the   T, l level (Big T, little l) with the teacher providing most of the "driving force" in your education,
    • and we should progress to the t, L level (Little t, big L) with you, the student-learner, providing most of the "driving force" attendant to your education.
    • The question you must constantly ask is "Where am I now on the road from  T, l  to  t, L?
       
  • The notion of critical thinking
    • Who is telling me this?
    • What is she or he trying to "sell" me?
    • Should I simply accept what's being said?
    • Are we examining all the possibilities?
    • What other data or facts are relevant to decision-making with respect to this issue?
    • Is the reasoning involved in this issue sound?
    • Are the supposed "facts" in this discussion true?
    • And, even if I accept the argument, is there a better way to state it?
       
  • On what level of thought is my current thinking taking place, vis-a-vis Bloom's Taxonomy?
    • Just as there are many levels on the learning path discussed above, there are many levels on the thinking path or understanding path, as it might be called.
    • These levels are described in BLOOM'S TAXONOMY. I invite you to click on this link, visit the site and study the "triangle."


 

Class Times and Places  —  Where to Find Me.
Ref # Course or Office Time Days Room
77551CALC II / MAC23128:00-8:50MTWRFSM 129
 OFFICE  Ph.(850-201-9819)9:00-9:50MTWRSM247
72246LAM1 (Liberal Arts Math – 1) / MGF110610:05-11:20TRSM125
 OFFICE 11:30-12:30TRSM 247
 OFFICE Or By Appointment SM 247

 

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