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typodupeerror

• #### Re: (Score:2)

My experience as a physics student was that professors really only expected us to work things out by hand during the first two years, e.g. while we were still learning the mathematics. After we'd slogged through three quarters of Calculus and a quarter each for Linear and DE we were considered "good enough". After that it was pretty much expected that we would be using Mathematica or equivalent software to do the heavy crunching, many of my submitted homework assignments were in fact printouts of a Mathem

• #### Can't force a student to leanr (Score:2)

And at the college level, I would rather see professors teaching and measuring learning than trying to force a person not to cheat. Not cheating should be learned in high school. In college a student is paying to learn, and any not learning should be asked to leave.

So to me the issue is original work. This is not a new problem. In Engligh one might copy a term paper, but not be able to write in class. That should be a big indication that a student should fail, if they are never able to write a paper

• #### Re: (Score:2)

In college a student is paying to learn.

That's how it used to be. Now, they're just paying for a degree. Learning is done on your own time.

• #### Misguided Universities (Score:2, Interesting)

The professors who are afraid of calculators and automatic problem solvers are the same as those who think class attendance matter. A university, if anything in the world, should be a place for learning, not a very expensive kindergarten. In that perspective the activities of the students are irrelevant: if they learn practical abilities through Wolfram Alpha, great. If they don't, that's their problem. Ultimately the student is the paying customer. Professors much too often slide into this illusion of gran

• #### I belong to that pocket of math instructors... (Score:2, Interesting)

who do not allow calculators. Part of my rationale is that if I allow calculators, then those who have the fanciest equipment would have an unfair advantage over those who don't. And I hate to have students feel that they must buy expensive equipment in order to stay competitive in the class.

So, this WolframAlpha might actually be a good thing, for it could level the playing field (The majority of my students do have internet access). I am sure one could design math problems in a way that still tests a s

• #### Re: (Score:2)

I am curious what level maths you teach?

If it's high level mathematics in college, wouldn't they use software tools?

You seem to be penalizing the rich and underestimating the not so rich.

OTOH, I only know what is in thst single post, so I would wager there is a fact or 10 I am missing.

• #### When I was a college student... (Score:2)

Solving an equation is work for math geeks and computers. Writing the equation is work for engineers. I solved damn near every equation in calculus class by hand, but I'll be damned if I understood where they came from, so I learned nothing. Luckily, I was a computer engineer, so only I really only had to understand and, or, and not.

We rarely got graded on take-home work in engineering or math classes. Too many grad students who'd work for beer - or just so someone would pretend to be their friend.

• #### Let me be the first to say.... (Score:2)

"Feeling of Power" by Isaac Asimov.

FWIW, I'm opposed to *requiring* graphing calculators, not to *allowing* them. Calculators, graphics tools, etc. are not math; they're engineering tools. Mathematics is (with a few rare exceptions) purely symbolic. If you don't understand that, you don't understand math. And, yeah, YACAS and Mathematica do solve symbolic problems. I wouldn't allow them during tests, but if students want to use the tools instead of learning math, that's their own funeral.

• #### How to solve a problem. (Score:2)

If you can solve the problem, you can solve the problem. Who cares what tools you use? Whether you do the work with a pencil and paper, use the internet or read the answer off the next student over's test is your own prerogative. What, exactly, are Profs concerned about? That someone is going to cheat their way into some position of authority (or wealth -- hah!) without actually understanding the material? Doesn't seem likely. There are people who want to know a given subject and people who need to kn

• #### Are they letting students use laptops during exams (Score:2)

If not, who cares? Even if all of their homework is correct, they will still fail the exam...

• #### Orals (Score:2)

Back in the day in Poland (I don't know if it still happens) you were graded through a conversation with the teacher/professor. It would reveal whether you really understood the topic. Only problem is this requires a high level of quality teachers.

• #### All I know is... (Score:2)

Wlfram Alpha answers the age-old question "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?" correctly [wolframalpha.com].
• #### Re: (Score:2)

On the other hand, it returns (among other things) "3.142" as a result to "what is the last digit of pi?"

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Now you're just being irrational.
• #### I'm a math professor, and I don't care about Alpha (Score:5, Insightful)

on Friday June 12, 2009 @08:59PM (#28316229)
I'm a math prof. at a reasonably large school.

I teach plenty of calculus.

When I grade, I don't care about the answer. I look at the way the student solves the problem. If the setup is correct, the computations are reasonable, and the flow of the solution demonstrates that the student knows what she's doing, then I give it full credit even if the answer is wrong. I couldn't care less about careless errors (poor pun intended). I'm measuring the student's problem solving abilities, not her ability to do lots of tedious computations in a short amount of time (that's what computers are for). Likewise, if a student magically produces the correct answer without showing any work (or if the work is clearly B.S.) then I give them no credit. The answer is irrelevant, it's the process that matters.

I am completely unconcerned about Wolfram Alpha.

I also have a CS background, and I recognize that most CS related jobs don't require calculus. However, the whole point of taking calculus is to practice logical reasoning. A good calculus course will force you to solve lots of long complex problems, clearly express your reasoning, and maybe even do a bunch of delta-epsilon proofs. Unfortunately, many calculus courses end up being reduced to mundane computations of derivatives and integrals... those courses ARE a waste of time.

p.s. If you're a student who actually wants to learn a subject, then go to that "rate my professor" site and look for professors who are "clear" and "hard". Take those professors. You won't learn much from an easy professor, and three years after you graduate that easy "A" will be meaningless.

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