On Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:38:20 -0700 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>On Tuesday, March 19, 2013 3:26:49 PM UTC, Frederick Williams wrote: >> quasi wrote: >> >> >> >> > >> >> > Yes, but the best teachers and authors have mastered the art of >> >> > judging how their presentation would be seen from the point of >> >> > view of the prospective student. >> >> >> >> While the lecturer knows to whom he is lecturing, the author of a book >> >> doesn't necessarily know who will read it. >> >> >This seems exactly the wrong way round. A good maths book will specify exactly what the readership is expected to know -- "prerequisites" in other words. >On the other hand, the abilities and knowledge bases of a graduate and undergraduate class can vary enormously, and it is difficult (but not impossible) to find out what they know.
??? There are _official_ prerequisites for a class. A student is not _allowed_ to take this class without having passed those other classes. All the author of a book can do is explain what audience he had in mind - he has no control over who actually reads the book.
What's difficult about finding out what the students know? After the first quiz in differential equations I can tell you which ones know enough calculus.
Your, erm, experience must be vastly different from mine; in particular the rules and regulations at the place where you teach must be very different.