Thursday, August 4, 2016

reviews of some other classes, not complete

linear algebra, summer 2007, taught by kosmatov.  This was back when I still liked math.  I may be mis-remembering but I don't think we had graded homework.  He assigned homework for practice only.  I did all the homework though.  He hand-wrote the tests and made photo-copies, so it was kinda hard to read them.  He didn't really explain things very well, but it wasn't a very hard subject for me and I understood it just by reading the book.  I got an A in it.

math software, fall 2010, taught by david something. it was a lab class, we just worked individually after he explained the programs a little (maple and latex and something else I don't remember the name of).  i sometimes had to wait a while for him to come help me with something i didn't know how to do because he was helping other people or just talking about unrelated things.  i sometimes felt like he didn't like me, but then he lent me a book so he probably didn't hate me.  sometimes he didn't understand what i was asking and i had to figure the stuff out myself by looking it up online or just trying different things.  I liked the material of the class.  It was light programming.  It was like a little puzzle.  I feel like : ) thinking about it because I was successful at almost everything if not everything I attempted in that class, though some of it took a lot of attempts to get right.

applied statistics 1, fall 2010, daniel something, an old guy who retired in 2011 or so I heard.  He used a microphone and coughed up mucus all through class and spit it into a cup that he kept on the podium.  he was pretty nice.  the tests were open book and we only had 2 homework assignments.  I appreciate the lack of busy-work.  However, I didn't learn anything in that class.  It was mostly stuff I had learned in high school, and other than that I looked stuff up in the book during the tests.

first attempt at advanced calculus goes here.

applied statistics 2, spring 2011, same daniel something guy.  he changed the like syllabus or whatever.  this time there was ONLY homework, no tests.  I didn't like that as much, but it was still pretty good.  The homework was all just due at the end of the semester.  Since I didn't have to worry about preparing for tests, I could do the homework at my own pace.  My own pace was pretty slow though, and I didn't finish all the homework and I got a C, and also I didn't really learn anything.  I looked at the examples in the book to see how to do the problems and I looked stuff up online and asked someone I knew personally who had a PhD in math for help.  I understood some of it at the time, but none of it got committed to my long-term memory.  I think that's mostly because i wasn't interested in the subject.

college geometry, spring 2011, dr peter.  the textbook was full of important typos, the teacher rambled a lot, he gave us these papers he wrote full of just like thoughts he had about math stuff, he gave us like 50 of them throughout the semester, and I threw them all away.  they were all hand-written and photo-copied, which is also how he did the tests.  a nice thing was that he only made you answer like 1/3 of the test questions to get a 100%.  so you could pick the ones you wanted to do.  I don't specifically remember if we had graded homework or not.  I crapped out at the end of the semester in all of my classes and got a B in college geometry even though I had an A up till near the end.

first attempt at senior seminar goes here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

review of math history 1 and 2

I was and am interested in the subject.  I didn't like the class, and I blame that entirely on the teacher.

He made us sign in and out.  The class met once a week.  He said we had to be there for 3 hours per week, although we could make up the time if we were late or something.  That was nice.  But the majority of the class work was like stuff you'd do in elementary school.  Like little word puzzles where you get clues to letters and then unscramble them to spell out "archimedes" or something like that.  Those kinds of things are fun to do sometimes, but they're not really fun to do for an entire one, two, or three hours.  He didn't just have a set amount of work.  If you finished the worksheets he had given out, he would go get more.  They were literally just busy work, to fill up the three hours.  He also assigned real math problems, from the textbook, but those were usually for homework, not to be done during class.  We studied a bunch of different numeral systems, which was part of the class that was actually interesting.  He made everyone take a turn at the board writing a number in the numeral system had just studied, and the number had to be something significant to you personally and you had to explain how to write the number and why it was important to you.  The part where he demands that you share personal information with a roomful of strangers is the part I strongly object to.  I also object to spending so much class time on that in general because it's a waste of time similar to the worksheets.  He didn't have us turn in assignments every day; instead he said we had to keep them in a 3-inch binder with dividers for each week, and he intended to grade them halfway through the semester, at the same time that he gave us a take-home midterm test.  The test required us to make copies of a bunch of tedious homework problems.  So the same problems had to be in the binder and also on the test.  He said he had pinkeye and couldn't grade because he couldn't see and he didn't actually grade the midterm tests or binders until after the semester was over.  One of the questions on the test was "write your age and the year you were born in all the numeral systems we have studied so far this semester".  As I already said, I wasn't comfortable with him demanding personal information, so I made up a fake age and chose a corresponding birth year, and wrote those in all the numeral systems.  It was more than half the points of the test and he counted it all wrong simply because I didn't use my **real** age, as if my real age were any of his business.  He said I could redo the test, though.  Because of his pinkeye, he gave everyone an incomplete in the class, and a take-home final, and he said he would change your grade after you brought the final to him and he graded it.  I was so annoyed with him about my midterm test grade, combined with the fact that I'd just found out that a math BA was useless, that I decided not to work on the class anymore and I got an F in it.

Every class, he was always going on about hot water and hot cocoa.  He kept hot water and hot cocoa in the closet and was always interrupting us to shout about it.  "We've got hot water and hot cocoa in the back!  Go get your hot water and hot cocoa!"  And he would talk to us like how teachers usually talk to 5-year-olds.  "We're not talking about pie the dessert, we're talking about Pi the number!"  And he asked us stupid questions and stood there staring until everyone answered in unison.  "Six times seven is, what, class? ............"  and people would stare back at him, look around at each other like "are we really supposed to answer that?" and then finally everyone would say "42", or whatever the stupid answer was he wanted.  He didn't treat it like a senior level college class.  He treated it like an elementary school class.

The book for the class was interesting, and the stuff about numeral systems was interesting.  Taught by anyone else, this could be a good class.  But I never saw it taught by anyone else.

In a later attempt to finish a math degree, I took math history 2.  I thought, this time since I know how stupid he is, I know what to expect, I can deal with it.  I was wrong.  I couldn't deal with it.  I ended up dropping that class.  It had all the same problems.  That is to say, he, the teacher, did all the same stupid things.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

State your immediate future professional goals, and briefly assess the extent to which the dept has prepared you to accomplish these goals.

I want to
- study and try to get on jeopardy.
- write a spanish textbook
- write a spanish-learning app
- find a non-terrible part-time job that pays >= 30.000$/year.

The UALR math/stat dept has helped me zero with this as far as I can tell.  It's possible that if I have a bachelor's degree that might help me find some job, but I'm not convinced and I won't be until it happens.

How would you respond to this question if asked by a student in calculus 1?

Uh, what question?  The previous one?  The one about second thoughts about majoring in math?  I have talked to people who were in high school who were about to go to college.  I'm not sure if I specifically talked to them about math, but I told them, among other things, to make sure they had a clear idea of why they were going to college, and if it was because they wanted to prepare for a specific career, they should make sure they were going the right degree(s) for that field.  I've told people many times that I learned after I'd taken many math classes that you can hardly work as a mathematician without a PhD in math.  I've told many people that I've learned that a BA/BS in math is useless without another degree to go with it.

If someone in calculus 1 asked me if they should major in math, i would ask them if they want to be a teacher or get a PhD or be an actuary or do a double major.  I would tell them not to major in math otherwise.  I'm doing it now with the intention of also getting other qualifications at some point.

Did you ever have any second thoughts about math/stat as a major? If so, what caused you to press forward and not change your major?

This makes me think I answered the previous question incorrectly.

I had thousandth thoughts about majoring in math.  I hate the concept of majoring.  I hate math.  I changed my major a billion times.  I am majoring in math again at the moment because I keep switching back and forth between math and spanish and computer science trying to figure out which ones sucks the least.

Was there an academic low point in your math/stats career at UALR? If so, what was it and how did you deal with it?

I hate math.  I have hated math since fall 2005.  There have been a lot of low points.

The lowest in the school sense i guess is the end of the spring 2011 semester when I took a year off school.  I was close to finishing a BA in math.  I was planning to do it in summer 2011.  My classes weren't going very well, but I was going to try to crap through them and pass.  I went to the career counseling office at UALR and asked what I could do with a BA in math.  The answer was nothing.  Literally nothing.  Nothing nothing nothing.  Their advice was to get another degree.  Like, get a double major in math and computer science, or get a teaching certificate, or take all those tests to become an actuary.  The math degree alone was completely worthless garbage.  So that coupled with the fact that I hated math and hated my classes and the classes weren't going well made me decide to flip desk and forget the whole thing.  I spent the year trying to figure out something else I could do career-wise, but that didn't work out and here I am back trying to get a fucking math degree.

What do you feel was/were your greatest academic accomplishment(s) in math/stats while at UALR?

The fraction of advanced calculus I understood and watching the khan academy videos about taylor series.
I made 2 videos showing that flipping text upside down and backwards is the same as rotating it 180 degrees.
Those videos are also failures.  They didn't convince someone who was claiming that they are not the same thing.  But I literally showed him so I guess it's all on him for not believing it.

Here's another math failure.  In 2007, I was taking intro to logic, taught by some adjunct or something who doesn't work at ualr anymore, and she said that induction doesn't prove things just shows them to be relatively likely, and I asked how that relates mathematical induction.  she said she didn't know what it was, so after class I asked her if she wanted me to show her an example of it.  she said yes, so I started demonstrating the proof that the sum of the natural numbers from 1 to n equals n(n+1)/2 for all natural numbers n.  She didn't even let me get through it, she jumped in to say that I was "assuming" when I was doing the induction step.  I said it was like a series of syllogisms, and she literally said "you're assuming that all natural numbers are the same".  She wouldn't listen after that so I left.

Linear Algebra.  That's when I came to understand vectors.  They had used vectors in calculus 3 and I had never seen them before and had no idea what was going on.
Math Software.  This is a programming class, not a math class.
Applied Stat 1.  I didn't learn anything.
Applied Stat 2.  I didn't learn anything.
College Geometry.  I vaguely remember being intrigued by the concept of representing a line as a set of two points.  This had come up in graph theory before but I didn't understand it till college geometry.

Those are all the math classes I took and passed.

the ones i failed or dropped:
math history:  during this class I learned that the roman, greek, and muslim eras in math history exist just because different empires took over the same region at different times.
advanced calculus:  During the second attempt, I read and understand and wrote a lot of proofs and felt like i was making progress in understanding actual math ie theoretical math, rather than just math applications.
senior seminar:  during the second attempt I watched the khan academy videos about taylor series.