I enjoyed this course a lot, mainly because Heap was making the lectures very interesting and I liked how he presented the material in a more philosophical way, although it is basically a discrete math course. I also had a chance to interact with him one on one, and although at first he seemed a little intimidating, I realized that he was a very kind and understanding person.
When it comes to the material, the tricky part is that you think you understand the concepts, up until the point where you have to apply your understanding to solve problems. There are so many ways to solve a problem. There are also many ways to solve a problem incorrectly (not solve in that case). The problem is that when you solve a problem incorrectly (a proof, for example), most of the time, only someone else can spot the hole in your proof. I believe that we have not learned enough concepts or seen enough proof examples to make any student in this class strong enough at proving statements that are not similar to the ones we’ve seen in class (unless the student had help outside school or has previous experience), and the only way we are able to write proofs so far is by following the structure given in class, which makes us tend to memorize more than really understand what’s going on. I’ve read on some SLOGs that some people found the material boring at times, which I think is mainly because their knowledge of the material is still very superficial. So is mine, but I am sure that there is something more to it, and hopefully I will understand it better when I take upper year courses (CSC236).
This course also triggered my interest in math in general; I am planning to read a few math books during Christmas break: “How to prove it: A Structured Approach – by Daniel J. Velleman” and “Calculus: An Intuitive and Physical Approach – by Morris Kline” (Can’t wait!).
Also, I realized through this course that studying hard doesn’t mean you’ll do well on the test/assignment/exam, studying smart does. You need to have some idea about what type of questions are going to be on the test and focus your study on this material specifically, because your knowledge of the material, no matter how strong, won’t prevent you from screwing up on a question. Practicing this question over and over again will (no student has time to do all the questions over and over again, would take weeks).
I’ve also been reading a few SLOGs throughout the term, mostly because it’s interesting to see how some people are coping with new material and their point of view on it, sometimes because I know the person and it’s fun to check what they wrote:
http://165choi.blogspot.ca – I read this person’s slog regularly because it’s one of the few who posts regularly, so whenever we learn something new, I know I’ll be able to read about the new material in this slog re-explained in his/her own words and some new insight.
http://sams-slog.weebly.com – I like this slog mainly because I like how this person explains what difficulties he/she is going through, and it usually coincides with mine.
http://pythoncodeshark.wordpress.com – This slog is fun to read because this person sees the material in a totally different way than I do, so it’s always interesting to see what he has to say about it.
Overall, I liked this course a lot and am very proud to know all the material learned. I hope that CSC236 will be a continuation of this course and help me understand the material more in detail.
Thank you for taking the time to read my slog 🙂