Asking questions, and explaining things to others, in or out of class, is one of the best ways to improve your understanding of the material. This course is to be an environment in which everyone feels comfortable asking questions, making mistakes, offering good guesses and ideas, and is respectful to one another.
You should explore each problem and write out your thinking in a way that can be shared with others. Focus on your own ideas. Turn in work even if it isnot complete, even if only to say, "I do not understand such and such" or "I am stuck here." Be as specific as possible. Conjecture. When writing up work, be sure to give acknowledgment where it is due. Submitting someone else's work as your own (PLAGIARISM) is a serious violation of the University's Academic Integrity Code, which defines:
Use of interactive technology is allowed only when it is related to our class. Put cell phones away and set them to vibrate. Photos or video or audio recordings may not be taken in class without prior permission. Food and beverages are allowed as long as they aren't distracting, but e-cigs, chewing tobacco/spit cups and other products are not allowed.
The purpose of homework is to learn and practice computational strategies, concepts, and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In this course, you will be challenged with problems that you have never seen before. I do not expect you to be able to solve all the issues immediately. Instead, I want to see what you can do on your own. Out in the real world, this is important, since no matter what job you have, you will be expected to seek out information and answers to new topics you have not seen before. This may feel uncomfortable and frustrating. I understand this and want to help you through the process. It helps to remember that there are no mathematical dead-ends! Each time we get stuck, it teaches us something about the problem we are working on, and leads us to a deeper understanding of the mathematics.
In the real world though, you are not expected to face your work alone. You will be allowed to talk to other people and you may even be expected to work with other people. In this class, you are also not expected to face your work alone. I encourage you to talk to me and each other often in class, office hours, and the bulletin board.
I am always happy to help you, and will try to give you hints and direction to help you understand the material. At times though, to encourage the exploration process, I may direct you to rethink a problem and to come back to discuss it with me again afterwards. This occurs when I believe that the struggle to understand is imperative for your deep understanding of the material.
I am married to the bassist Joel Landsberg. We both happen to be on IMDb: Joel and me. In my spare time I like to travel, hike and conduct genealogy research (I also enjoy popular culture, as you can probably tell from some of my scholarly interests). In addition to my own personal genealogy, I like to give back to the broader community. I am the project coordinator for sites like the Bialobrzegi ShtetLink and the Book of Remembrance of the Community of Bialobrzeg. These projects strive to research and preserve information about small Jewish communities that were destroyed in World War II. My great-grandparents lived there (it was the Russian empire back then!) in the late 1800s. Some of what I really like about mathematics is also what I enjoy about genealogy - the sense of exploration, discovery and aha moments that come with lots of patience and effort.