Sunday, July 31, 2016

How would you compare the UALR math/stat dept with math/stat depts at other univs that you may have attended?

I've gone to three different schools.  TCC, tarleton, and ualr.  My favorite was TCC.  I took college algebra, trigonometry, calculus 1, and calculus 2 there.  I don't really blame TCC for misrepresenting math because they don't offer a math degree.  Retroactively, I wish that the beginning math classes had just been advanced calculus or real analysis or whatever, but at the time I liked the math classes at TCC and the math teachers I had (David Gustafson and Cynthia Albee and someone else whose name I don't remember) were super available and super helpful and Gustafson in particular made the subject even more interesting than I already found it at the time.

I didn't want to go to tarleton, so that colors all of my experiences there.  But anyway, the teachers were generally not as available or interested in helping me and they didn't explain stuff as well as the teachers at TCC did and I didn't understand a lot of the stuff in calculus 3 and differential equations and some other classes and I hated them, although some of the classes were interesting despite the lack of good teachers, including discrete math and number theory.

I didn't really want to go to UALR either.  Linear algebra was easy and interesting despite having a terrible teacher.  I finally understood what a vector was in that class.  Math software was fine, but not actually a math class.  College geometry was pretty stupid. Applied statistics 1 was stuff I already knew mostly, and I crapped my way through applied statistics 2 without actually learning anything.  I really hated math history, even though I want to emphasize I was extremely interesting the subject, the teacher of the class was such an annoying piece of crap I couldn't stand it.  Advanced calculus was totally opaque to me the first time I took it and when I went to the teacher for help, I left more confused and dropped the class half way through.  The second time I took it I did better in it, but I failed the class for unrelated personal reasons. The first time I took the senior seminar, I didn't know how to do any of the homework and I think I horribly failed the MFT and I didn't have a good research project and I just ended up giving up because I hated everything.

I can't really pick one out of UALR and tarleton as the better one. They're both kind of crappy.  And TCC was good.  When it comes to like, my experience in the classes I mean.  When it comes to preparing you to like be a mathematician they probably all suck equally.

2 comments:

  1. I've gone to three different schools. Tarrant County College, Tarleton State University, and UALR. A general critique that I have of all math programs relates to the focus on the program in the early classes. Currently, math programs, in my experience, are mostly about mechanically using math as a tool, and the theory behind math is a very small part of the program that only comes in the last year of study. While learning the mechanics of how to use math as a tool makes sense for non-math majors, it doesn’t make sense for someone who is explicitly studying math and trying to get a degree in math. Their classes should instead focus on the theory of math (concepts from advanced calculus or real analysis, for example) from the beginning, so that students have a clear idea of what a math degree is about. It seems like departments are deceptive about their programs, making them appear easy at the beginning in order to attract majors. However, it would be in the best interest of both the department and the student to teach this material early on, so that students who are not prepared or interested don’t get into something they can’t handle. .

    TCC was my favorite college. I took college algebra, trigonometry, calculus 1, and calculus 2 there. TCC doesn’t offer a math degree since it is a community college, so it is difficult to compare it to Tarleton and UALR. I liked the math classes at TCC and I felt that my teachers were very helpful and available and made the material interesting, As I said above, I wish that I had learned more about math theory while I was there.

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  2. I didn't want to go to Tarleton, so that colors all of my experiences there. But the teachers were generally not as available or interested in helping me and they didn't explain the material as well as the teachers at TCC did. I didn't understand a lot of the concepts in calculus 3 and differential equations and some other classes, although some of the classes were interesting despite the lack of good teachers, including discrete math and number theory. Unlike UALR, Tarleton didn’t require a senior seminar or capstone class and they had stricter requirement outside of the math classes, including two computer science classes, two semesters of physics, and seven other classes in an approved math-related field..

    At UALR, linear algebra was easy and interesting. I finally understood what a vector was in that class. Math software was fun and interesting and the teacher was helpful, and I liked the lab format of the class.. College geometry was interesting because it was really different from the other math classes I had taken up to that point. The book for the college geometry class, however, had a lot of egregious typos, and we regularly had to correct the book in class. Applied statistics 1 was mostly material that I already knew, and I managed to pass applied statistics 2 without actually learning anything. I really hated the math history class, even though I want to emphasize I was extremely interesting the subject. The teacher was condescending and disrespectful to students during class, and many of the assignments seemed a waste of time and inappropriate for college students. Advanced calculus was totally opaque to me the first time I took it and when I went to the teacher for help, I left more confused and dropped the class half-way through. The second time I took it I did better in it, but I failed the class for unrelated personal reasons. The first time I took the senior seminar, I didn't know how to do any of the homework and I think I horribly failed the MFT and I didn't have a good research project so I just ended up giving up.

    In conclusion, I liked TCC better than Tarleton and UALR, but that is not really a fair comparison because TCC only has lower-level math classes. Tarleton and UALR have basically the same downsides and upsides. The only major difference between them is that UALR has the senior seminar. I would like to reiterate my recommendation that math theory be incorporated into lower-level math classes, rather than postponed until the senior-level classes.

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