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LET’S START AT THE END This essay was posted on my teaching blog on August 1, 2017. If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I try to use the summer to get the students ready for the fall semester. I want everyone to be ready on the first day to take off and fly. Time is short. I want to use it all and use it effectively. Consequently, I send periodic emails to my new students from May through August although I am never sure whether they pay close attention or not. However, one email does seem to catch their attention. Last week, I cut and pasted one of the questions included on the final exam last spring into an email. I then sent it to the new students to give them a feel for what they are going to learn this fall. Most students do not understand in advance the purpose of a course. A final exam problem gives them an illustration of what they will be able to do after we spend the semester working together. The reality of seeing a question that the previous class had to work draws the students’
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