ASU Summer 2016 Session B Week 3 Update

I survived my first test in MAT 267 yesterday. This one counted for 10% of our total grade and wasn’t proctored. 12 questions and 2 hours to complete them. Topics were all on Chapter 10 – Vectors and the Geometry of Space. Most of the questions were pretty straight forward and I was able to score an 11.83/12 on the exam. I missed a question where we were given an acceleration vector and the vectors for velocity and position at time 0 and then needed to work back to find the general velocity and position vector equations. I missed 1/6 of that question, switching a sign. Very frustrating. The Calculus was easy, it’s that darn arithmetic that is hard sometimes!! All the questions were straight from the homework set and I had 100% on all of the homework questions to date. That problem I missed on the exam took me a number of attempts on the homework, but at least there were no surprises on the exam.

In addition to spending a lot of time preparing for the first exam, this week we moved into Chapter 11 – Partial Derivatives.

Topics included

  • Functions of Two Variables
  • Partial Derivatives
  • Tangent Planes and Linear Approximations
  • The Chain Rule

Homework hasn’t been too heavy this week, just more of the same read the corresponding section in the textbook, watch the video, add new flash cards to my flash card deck, do homework.

Next week on 7/23 I have Exam 2 which will count for 25% of my grade and is proctored online through http://www.proctoru.com. Test prep information highlights materials from chapter 11 and perhaps some from chapter 10. Biggest challenge I think with Chapter 11 will be remembering all of the derivatives going back to MAT 265 – Calculus I. I have been reviewing a flash card deck of the various Integrals and derivatives so hopefully I won’t forget any come the exam.

Not much else to report this week! Back to the books!

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ASU Summer 2016 Session B Week 2 Update

This week has a lot of sections. Started off pretty straightforward but the later topics were definitely more challenging and time consuming.

On the menu for week two we found:

  • The Dot Product
  • The Cross Product
  • Equations of Lines and Planes
  • Cylinders and Quadric Equations
  • Vector Functions and Curve Spaces
  • Arc Length and
  • Motion in Space: Velocity and Acceleration

A lot of problems were assigned from The Dot Product, Equations of Lines and Planes and Vector Functions and Curve Spaces. MAT 265 and 266 didn’t have very many problems with limited attempts but on a few problems, students were only given a handful of attempts. So far, I’ve gotten all of the problems correct. Most of the limited attempt questions were either true or false or matching questions. I am not a fan of those at all. 

The last few sections and especially the Motion in Space section were very similar to what I remember from Physics 121 homework problems. I think having this course prior to Physics 121 in the fall will help me out a lot. I am definitely getting more comfortable with vectors after this week’s section. Plus seeing a few velocity and accelerations problems worked out through the MAT 267 lecture slides was very helpful.  

Probably the most difficult thing for me is visualizing the 3D graphs. I am having to rely a lot on the Wolfram Alpha windows store app to help me graph and more times than not I’m off in my head. My plan over the next few days is to see if I can find a few other videos and resources to help supplement what the instructor has provided through Khan Academy or PatrickJMT’s site.  

Wednesday, July 13 I have Exam 1 which will be 10% of my grade. It will cover all of the week 1 and week 2 material. It isn’t proctored and we’ve got two hours to complete the exam. As with the other MAT 265 and MAT 266 courses it will be through WebWorks and we’ll have two submissions. 

ASU Summer 2016 Session B Week 1 Update

MAT 267 started up Wednesday 6/29 of this week officially. Unofficially though, last Sunday, if I remember correctly the professor had Blackboard, WebWorks and Piazza online and ready for us. I didn’t get a lot done with the three day head start unfortunately, but I did get to spend it down in Disneyland with the family for a much needed vacation.

Summer session courses have a few less days than the usual fall and spring semesters so I think the professor had mentioned that this course crams 16 weeks into a 6 week course. No pressure… I have been very impressed with the professor though. He’s a UCR alum so that is a big plus! Not to mention, he’s got a lot of additional resources listed out for students and has been very quick to respond to questions on the discussion boards. Fingers crossed this course will go smoothly.  

MAT 267 picks up right where MAT 266 leaves off. We started this week by taking a look at the following topics:

  • 3-D Coordinate Systems
  • Vectors

Two sets of homework are due on Saturday, but didn’t take much to get them completed yesterday. I fear though, that the intensity and difficulty will increase as we get further along in the course. This week’s topics definitely appeared in Physics 121 from what I remember last spring so I think having MAT 267 under my belt ahead of PHY 121 and PHY 122 will be beneficial when I retake those two classes this fall. 

I haven’t altered my study work equipment too much, although I did sign up for the Windows Insider Program on my Surface Pro 3. I figured it was safe enough to give it a try since we’ve also got my wife’s Surface Book Pro as a backup. So far the fast builds have been working well the past few weeks and seem pretty stable. I’m using Asana to keep track of due dates and assignments as I did for MAT 266 last semester, in addition to OneNote and OneDrive for class notes and saving files, etc.

To keep well ahead of the work load, my goal is to complete 1-2 sections per day. There are a couple of weekends where I’ll be gone due to Scouting commitments. My wife is home on summer vacation from her teaching job so she’ll be able to help out with the kiddos more. In addition, I did take advantage of one of the local libraries today. I plan to sneak over there more so I can get some quiet time to focus on the various problems.

In addition to the homework which is 15% of our grade, 10% comes from Exam 1 (unproctored) and the remaining 75% (25% each) for Exam 2, Exam 3 and the Final which all three are proctored examinations. ASU continues to use ProctorU.com and is picking up the proctor fee again. I do wish homework would be worth more since that is where the majority of my time is spent, but rumor has it that if you do the homework and understand the problems, the exams will be pulling questions from the homework. Exam 1 is on July 13th and additional information will be made available as that date gets closer. 

Health wise, I’m feeling much better than I did back in May. Finally have most of my energy back and have started running again. Slight change to my diet to include a lot more fiber, but so far so good. I’ve got what I hope will be my last doctor’s appointment next week. 

That is all for now! Back to work I go! 

Slight Change of Plans

I had originally planned to take MAT 343 – Applied Linear Algebra in Session A this summer. Even went as far as to start the class and complete the first two homework assignments.I haven’t used matrices much in my travels over the years so the first two lessons took a bit to get used to. Not too difficult from the very little I got to work through.

On day two of the class everything went sideways on me. I ended up in the hospital with a case of diverticulitis. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I was a guest at the hospital until last Thursday, but then have spent the last few days just trying to get my strength back and hold food down. Horrid way to spend a week. I think I’m on the mend. Still pretty tired and will be on a bland diet until the antibiotics are finished off, but definitely light years ahead of where I was a week ago.

I’m not anticipating having too much school news to post for the next few weeks until MAT 267 – Calculus III starts up on June 29th. Looking ahead at my course load for next year and where to drop MAT 343 in, I’m planning to take MAT 343 Fall Session B with MAT 275 – Modern Differential Equations. Definitely will be a heavy math session, but after that session my days of WebWorks will hopefully be behind me!

ASU Spring 2016 Complete

Thursday morning I wrapped up MAT 266’s Final Exam. 15 questions, 2 hours and 35% of the grade. I am happy to report I walked away with a 93% on the final exam. (Just missed 1 question on the final and for the entire course! GRRR! So close to a perfect score). Overall for the course I earned an A which I will gladly take. For some reason, I decided to use the ratio test incorrectly on one of the series questions on the final.

It amazes me how quickly the courses move in ASU’s online program. UC Riverside had 10 week courses if I remember correctly where ASU is at 7.5 weeks. To put things in perspective, UC Riverside’s MATH 9A, 9B and 9C (Calculus I, II, & III) topics were all covered in MAT 265 and MAT 266 in 15 weeks which would normally be what a full time on campus student covers over one academic year.

I am still enjoying the program and I think ASU’s got a good system setup for students. For the math courses, through WeBWorks, students get feedback right away on assignments. Typing in the answers took a little getting use to, but after a few assignments isn’t too bad. Finding out immediately if you’ve worked a problem correct is great. The 24/7 tutoring resources and the Piazza discussion boards have been very helpful as well. Not to mention there are some great resources outside of what’s available at ASU such as Khan Academy, Patrick JMT’s videos and Krista King’s math videos to help students understand the topics.

Next up for me, is two weeks off before summer session starts up. I’ll be continuing my math studies with MAT 343 – Applied Linear Algebra and MAT 267 – Calculus III. Applied Linear Algebra has MATLAB lab assignments which I’m looking forward to. ASU Students are able to download a copy of MATLAB from ASU for no-charge for academic work which is great.

MAT 343 looks at solving linear systems, matrices, determinants, vector spaces, bases, linear transformations, eigenvectors, norms, inner products, decompositions, and applications as well as problem solving using MATLAB.

With MAT 265 and 266 there isn’t much variation- Watch the lectures, read through the book, work problems, repeat. Having some lab assignments and working with MATLAB will help break up that routine I hope. Plus, just looking forward to working in MATLAB and learning more about that application.

MAT 267 – Calc III looks at vector-valued functions of several variables, partial derivatives and multiple integration. It continues on and uses the same book from MAT 265 and 266 so that is good. MAT 343 had us pick up a the ninth edition of Linear Algebra with Applications by Steven J. Leon.

ASU Spring 2016 Session B Week 7 Update

Not much new this week for MAT 266. Only new material we’re taking a look at is Area and Length in Polar Coordinates. Our Final Exam is due this week by Friday at noon and I’ve got it scheduled for Thursday morning at 9:10 am. The final is worth 35% of our grade and consists of 15 problems. The professor sent over a list of suggested problems to review so I’ve been going through those as well as reviewing past exams in preparation.

I’ve been struggling with Series, in particular differentiating and integrating power series and Taylor and Maclaurin series so have been going through a bunch of videos and Patrick JMT’s website that have been much better than the video lectures.

I was able to get all the homework completed successfully last Thursday so pretty happy that is behind me.

Once the final is complete, I’ll have two weeks off before I start up on MAT 343 – Applied Linear Algebra.

ASU Spring 2016 Session B Week 6 Update

Last week I had my second exam for MAT 266 due and I’m happy to report I was somehow able to pull off a perfect score on the test! With this math class, getting a lot of practice under your belt and the Anki flashcard program to help with memorizing the derivatives and integrals seem to be the key.

In addition to the test, we were working on series last week. I’m struggling a bit with series right now. I was able to get through the homework, but the lectures and book didn’t really match up well to what the homework was in Webworks. I’m sorry to say I am really not enjoying the MAT 266 lectures like the MAT 265 lectures.

In MAT 265 the professor teamed up with two other students and it was more of a discussion session working through problems and the material for the lecture videos. In MAT 266, the professor moves very very quickly and the videos just aren’t the same. The MAT 266 videos just don’t seem to engage you as well and when the video is reading off slides long equations it gets challenging to follow.

I’m a little bit ahead on the homework assignments so my plan is to spend the early part of this week reviewing some of the Khan Academy videos and running back through problems. I am also planning to reach out to ASU’s tutors as well.

Week six we’re going to be studying the following topics:

  • Taylor and Maclaurin Series
  • Parametric Curves
  • Calculus with Parametric Curves
  • Polar Curves

I’m curious to learn more about the parametric and polar curves. I vaguely remember looking at polar curves back in high school.