Archive for March, 2012

quarterly report

i finished out my first grading-only quarter
of all time two fridays ago (and promptly got
sick; *still* not entirely over it but it’s
much more manageable than what it was last
week). it was surprisingly not-bad.

lecturing is still a better post in my eyes
but the much-more flexible schedule… and
not having to deal with actual students…
really are pretty attractive features of
this kind of work. anyhow, i’m doing it
again starting last monday, and with
a heavier load at that. all “STEM” students
again (science-technology-engineering-maths);
another very attractive feature after decades
of mostly-precalculus lecturing posts.

in ten weeks, i expect to know more than *anyone*
(including any of the instructors or the course
co-ordinator) about how intro-linear-algebra
*really works* here at Big State U (maybe i do
already but in ten weeks i expect i’ll be sure).

written as a comment to
sue v.’s
are (k-12) math textbooks getting worse?
(with particular reference to its link to
annie keegan’s
afraid of your child’s math textbook?
you should be.
)

google trimmed the top off in the preview.
they’ve rejected me for going on too long before
so i tried editing it into two comments. but
then i kept getting the “doesn’t match the
prove-you’re-not-a-robot-gizmo” message regardless
of how careful i was. to hell with it.
i’m never playing *that* game again…

thanks for alerting me to
annie keegan’s piece.
math texts have mostly
been worse-than-useless
for some time but the
deterioration continues…
and somehow the process
continues to fascinate me.
good to have another “inside”
source.

the elsevier boycott is a whole
different can of worms… *this*
giant might just get brought down
by the faculty. the motherlode
is this astonishingly-well-researched
journal publishing reform page.

one has about as much hope of fixing
the textbook industry in the large
as of shutting down the war machine
or getting USA on single-payer health…
it would require a *radical* reform
of our entire system of goverment-
-by-global-capital (and probably
wouldn’t be pleasant… cf the french
and russian revolutions and their
subsequent reigns of terror…).

so i’ve given up hope for it
(that’s what’s so strange about
the fact that the rotting corpse
of textbook math-ed *does*
continue to fascinate me…).
still, *some* radical change
is likely and that right early
(i just don’t *hope* for it).

any survivors of the whole ordeal
that for some reason want to create
some math textbooks would do well
to dig up some shaum’s outlines
and dover books and whatnot:
much cheaper and much more useful
than contemporary USA eyecandy-
-weighing-a-metric-ton doorstops.
they’re available even now to faculty having
the power actually to *choose* their texts…