I need help! GACK!
A mere two hours ago, I hoisted the Multivariable Calc book that I’ll be teaching from next year from the pile on the floor to my desk and gave it my first run through. It looks okay .
I’m designing this course from scratch, and I wanted to ask for some advice for anyone who has taught it, or has ever designed a course from scratch…
- Anything — print or web resources, jokes, songs, videos, pictures? Also, it doesn’t have to be about multivariable calculus; any advice on how to design a really awesome course from scratch would be much appreciated! How long did it take you, what resources did you draw upon, did you make a general outline of topics or a specific day-by-day schedule, did you write your assessments beforehand or during the school year once you’ve gauged the students’ abilities, and the other million questions that I’m thinking of.
- Does you know of any good software for graphing in 3-D that is open source (read: free) and works on a PC? I know of SAGE, and OCTAVE, and the like, but I’m wondering if those programs are a bit overkill for this course. Is there something less bulky out there? Maybe even a really powerful 3-D graphing calculator that people like?
UPDATE: I just remembered that SAGE came out with the online SAGE notebook, which is what I think I’ll probably implement! It’s like MAPLE in terms of the command line, and it seems extraordinarily powerful.
- How do you teach your students to graph in 3-D by hand? How do you do it on the board? SmartBoard?
- Have you ever taught a class with 3-5 students before? Do you treat it like a regular class — with lecturing but with more individualized attention? Or did you teach it seminar style? What would a seminar style math class look like?
- Do you have any good investigative activities or projects for multivariable calc? Or that you do in calc that can be extended?
- Have you ever just thrown out teaching from a textbook and used an online textbook? Or mixed and matched textbooks? Or taught without any book?
Hopefully I’ll use this blog to post about the evolution of the course design as the summer progresses… so don’t change that RSS reader!
 Other books that are lined up to be read this summer are Fight Club, The Kite Runner, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (all for school); if I have time, I also want to read Lazarus’ Closed Chambers, Tartt’s The Little Friend, Dewey’s The School and Society and The Child and the Curriculum, Pais’ The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein, and finish up the second half of Gogol’s Dead Souls.
 I’m using Anton’s Calculus, Early Transcendentals, 8th Edition. My school uses the first half of the book in calc classes and I don’t want to make my students buy a second book. My initial opinion: the book is okay but seems to be unnecessarily dense in places, and could have left a number of sections out. The exercises at the end of each section are quite good.