For quite some time I have been toying with the idea of using some kind of online homework system in my intro-level classes. I had some experience with online homework as a teaching assistant in Texas, as many of our Calculus courses used them, but never tried doing this at Bates. For my Calculus I class this semester, I decided to try WeBWork, an open-source online homework system supported by the MAA and the NSF. In this post, I would like to share the successes, failures, and lessons learned from this experiment. Continue reading
By this point in the semester, I have given two exams in my Calculus class and one in my Real Analysis class. Grading is always a pain, but I have struggled much more recently with what to say as I hand out the exams. Giving statistics on the exam might be helpful for students so they can see how they stand with respect to the rest of the class. But is that really important? Isn’t it more important that the student only know how they did, and perhaps how they can improve? I really don’t know the answer to this question. I used to never give statistics on the exam. If my students asked, I would say that averages and medians were not a great way to summarize their performance, and that they should really only worry about their own performance. But I have recently caved, mostly because I realized I was one of the few people who did not give any stats on the overall class performance, and the students were sort of expecting it. After a couple of awkward incidents this semester, I’m considering going back to my “no stats” policy.
Kristin Lauter, showing the group the first WIN proceedings volume.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the latest installation of the Women in Numbers conferences, Women in Numbers – Europe at the CIRM in Luminy. (Side note: WINE must be the best acronym for a conference held in France ever). This successful series of conferences started in 2008, mostly under the impetus of Kristin Lauter. The conferences have been great for creating a network of women doing research in Number Theory, and have led to fruitful collaborations and two proceedings volumes (one of which is in the presses as we speak, er, write). I have written before about how much I love these research-focused workshops for women, and my love for workshops in general, so in an effort not to repeat myself in this post I will mainly share some photos and memories from the experience, in no particular order. Continue reading