Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Class Report: Abstract Algebra

Tonight was the first meeting of my abstract algebra class. So far, I have very good feelings about the class. Some good things:
  1. The professor is very charming. (It may seem trivial but I really do appreciate this.)
  2. She is going to give a quiz every Thursday that is all definitions. I think it's really smart to emphasize definitions in a class like this. If you don't know the real math definition of something you can't do proofs, etc., with it.
  3. Expectations seem high so far. For instance, the material I was afraid would be reviewed in this class (some basic definitions I've had in a lot of math classes) is stuff we are to review on our own and be prepared to take a quiz on on Thursday.
She had us get into teams (not "groups" because that is an abstract algebra term) for about the second half of class and work on a set of exercises she gave us. That felt a little bit awkward for me because I had already seen (in two different past courses) the material in the first half of the exercise. Fortunately, the person in our team who volunteered to write up the answers was also the person with the most trouble, which meant that we took enough time for her to understand what we were doing. (I would rather write up the group answers myself so I can control their quality, but if the person having the most difficulty writes them up, the others are compelled to make sure that person understands the material at least well enough to write correct answers.)

The classroom for this class is sort of awful - comparatively long front-to-back and cramped side-to-side, with those desks I hate. It's also excessively warm and airless. But that's me being finicky about spaces.

1 comment:

Lee Ryan said...

that makes me think of my favorite math joke:

question: What's purple and commutes?

answer: An Abelian Grape!