Showing posts from January, 2013

Why statistics and what will you learn?

In the third week of MS 150 Statistics 75 students were asked to respond in writing to the following three questions:

1. Why are you taking this particular course?
2. How does this course fit into your academic plan?
3. Do you understand what the course learning outcomes are?

Although the student learning outcomes for the course had been emailed to all students prior to the start of the course and were on the course syllabus, no in class exercises directly engaged the students in learning the student learning outcomes.

The 75 students sometimes put more than one answer to a question, in these instances both answers were recorded. The survey that asked the questions was done anonymously, students were instructed not to put their names on their papers.

Responses to the first question, "Why are you taking this particular course?" fell into seven categories.

Major/degree requirement54To learn statistics14To learn to use spreadsheets4To learn to solve math problems with computer3C…

Linear motion

I introduced linear motion this term by riding my RipStik on the solar panel covered sidewalk. This was the first term to use this sidewalk. I opted to use it as the sidewalk in front of A101 is in an increasingly deteriorated surface condition.

The posts turned out to be separated by almost exactly 500 centimeters. 501 centimeters and a few millimeters, but close enough to take advantage of the rounded value.

I rolled without swizzing, which would later yield a nearly perfect straight line.

I then shared the data, sketched a very rough graph, and assigned a spreadsheet generated graph as homework.

I also decided to not use a ramp this term. Rain moved us onto the gym porch. I did ensure I had pumped the ball really taut. The procedure was to use a bowler and have the bowler attempt to repeat a speed as accurately as possible. The highest speed was obtained by side arm slinging of the ball just as fast as humanly possible.

Note that the data was gathering in centimeters, not meters, m…

Engrade: Beginnings

Over the past few years I have know about grading packages with on line log in capabilities for students. Most of these required up front purchase of desktop grade book software. Last year a colleague introduced me to Jupiter Grades. I experimented with the package briefly but found that I hit pay walls when I wanted to do something beyond maintain a personal grade book. I could not generate student log ins with purchasing an annual subscription. I was also not all that impressed with the interface which felt almost DOS like at times.

This term I went back looking for a package to handle my grades on line and discovered Engrade - a market leader that is free. I set up five sections in Engrade fairly easily using a function to convert the college's SIS output to Engrade input format. I used a spreadsheet parsing function to convert the SIS lastName, firstName to two columns in the order firstName lastName. In the third column was the ID as required by Engrade. The ID used must, abs…

Lycophyte and Monilophyte hike

On Tuesday in SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany I brought in three plants, Cyrtosperma chamissonis, Citrus aurantifolia, Premna obtusifolia, and Barringtonia racemosa (with inflorescence). This led to an early introduction of the term "devolution" in the class.

On the previous Tuesday I instructed the SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany students to come without books and backpacks if possible for the first hike of the term. As I have done the past few terms, I did not even open the classroom, leaving at 3:30 sharp and heading west.

The class is already strung out along the sidewalk.

On the way to the trail head I did not see any moss and realized that this left time for a slight detour. I went south of the gym and headed up the trail that takes off from the southwest corner of the gym parking lot. I then pushed through the razor grass over to the small valley in which I once found Psilotum nudum. Plants had been seen fall 2009, but not since. There were still no plants.

I then headed through the Hibi…