This class was tough.
Course Overview:
While this course was challenging, I recommend that any math major, or even anyone thinking about majoring in mathematics, take this course. Communicating in Mathematics focuses on WHY certain principles in mathematics hold. For example, have you ever thought about why two odd numbers multiplied together has the result of an odd number? Or why number systems work the way that they do? While this course simply scratches the surface of concepts covered in other math classes, it is a fantastic introduction to not only thinking critically about mathematics, but also about proving WHY something occurs.
Course highlights:
As with any class, one of the greatest factors of this course was the professor. David has a lot of enthusiasm about mathematics, and it really shows when he is teaching. Thus, this makes the course fun and interesting. David also took a lot of time to ensure he was helping his students, and so there was ample opportunity to visit him in his office hours to ask questions. Due to the amount of help available, I felt confident about my content knowledge in the course. Additionally, the structure of the course allowed us to make discoveries for ourselves. The point of the class is exploration: students should want to explore WHY certain principles hold in mathematics, and use problem-solving techniques to prove a conjecture revolving around these principles. This made the class far more interesting, since I was learning problem-solving skills, which helped me in later math classes. Finally, the theory behind mathematical concepts is fascinating, and if you've never been a person that really enjoys calculation-based mathematics, this course will completely change your viewpoint on how cool math really is. So, in that regard, this course truly changed my mindset on mathematics, and for that, I will always have an appreciation for it.
Hours per week:
9-11 hours
Advice for students:
-Go to the professor's office hours! Regardless of which professor teaches the course, they have office hours for a reason and can even schedule time to see you if none of those hours work with your schedule. There is a lot of hard material to grasp in this course, but it will be much easier for you if you take time to talk to the experts about it. -Do your homework! Lots of professors at Grand Valley assign "preview activities," which are 2 point assignments to do before the next class, which will be a preface to the next day's lecture. While 2 points doesn't seem like a lot, (a) these points add up, and (b) these activities really help you to grasp the material in the lecture. Additionally, a lot of these assignments are graded based on effort rather than correctness, so it's an easy 2 points per class period, and can really help if you need to boost your grade after a test. -Work with others. Proof-based courses are super difficult, but one of the most interesting parts about theoretical mathematics is that there are several ways to go about the same problem. So, different people in your class may have various viewpoints on how to solve a problem. It really helps to work with these people and get different viewpoints, and to get some help when you're stuck on a problem. I didn't do a lot of work with others in this course, and I regret that, because it helped me a ton to work with my classmates when I did other proof-based courses. -Do drafts for the writing assignments. A lot of professors offer multiple submissions for the written proofs, and its important to utilize these. Yes, you won't get the proof right on the first try, but when you are able to get corrections and learn about how to correctly prove the theorem, you will learn more overall. Also, if your professor doesn't offer multiple submissions, still bring a draft of your proof with you during an office hours appointment. This way, your professor sees you are putting a lot of effort into the course, and they also can help you with what you have so far. -Don't be afraid to make mistakes! Mistakes are the foundation of learning. How many times have you learned when you did perfectly on something the first try? Didn't you learn more when you got a bad grade and did better the next time to improve it? You will make a lot of mistakes in this class, but don't let it discourage you. Just think of mistakes as a learning opportunity, and the class will be much richer.