On 2013-03-19, David C Ullrich <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > On Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:38:20 -0700 (PDT), email@example.com 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.
The official prerequisites are almost always as certain courses or equivalent. Whether those courses as taken were any good is now highly questionable.
> 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.
You can tell if they know calculus manipulations. You cannot tell if they understand what "derivative" and "integral" mean. Someone who does only needs to be told once about formulating differential equations from assumptions about the field of application.
> 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.
> "exactly the wrong way round" indeed.
-- This address is for information only. I do not claim that these views are those of the Statistics Department or of Purdue University. Herman Rubin, Department of Statistics, Purdue University firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (765)494-6054 FAX: (765)494-0558