OpenLab #2: Advice from the past

Last summer I taught this course, MAT 1272, in summer school.  Just before the final, I gave my students the following assignment:

Imagine that you are invited to speak on the first day of MAT 1272, to give advice to entering students.  Write a paragraph…describing what you would tell them.

To see the assignment and the students’ responses, follow this link.

Your assignment, due next Thursday, 2/21/13 at 2:30pm, is to:

  1. Read throughALL the responses (there are 38 of them, but some are quite short).
  2. Write a reply to this post (1 paragraph) responding to all of the following:
    1. What advice seemed most relevant to you personally? Why? (you can copy/paste a short statement, or put it in your own words)
    2. Based on this advice, what changes can you make right now to help you with this course?

NOTE: Some of the advice is related specifically to the fact that it is a summer course, which covers the same material that we are covering but in the space of only 5 weeks.  Feel free to ignore these comments, as they do not apply to us!

41 thoughts on “OpenLab #2: Advice from the past

  1. A.) I saw several responses about keeping up with homework/practicing problems daily. I do believe in reviewing for each class daily. One of my professors a,ways told me to review 15 minutes before class and 15 minutes after class. That truly does help.

    B.) I need to continue to look over my notes as well as not procrastinate. I do believe every college student is guilty of that 🙂

  2. Reading through the posts, I saw that the students that commented on prof Reitz were confident in his teaching methods, and abilities to transfer his knowledge on the subject of statistics, over to his students, providing off-course the students did what they were supposed to do from the start. This is very helpful to me since it raises my confidence level that if I work hard, I can not only pass with a good grade, but I will learn things in this class, which in the long-run, will help me to better myself. I also noticed many students commented on the topic of Hypothesis, “The topic I find challenging is the hypothesis test, only because the problems are long and takes steps by steps to solve it.” Knowing this in advance, I intent to pay very close attention to this topic, and prepare myself mentally for the long step by step method to solve problems, especially since all of this is totally new to me, and that math have always been my most challenging subject.
    The change I would make to help me with this course is, I would will now try and solve some of the problems from the text, recommended on the sheet that prof Reitz gave out at the start of the course.

    • I totally agree, from the first class I could tell that the professor was going to be good. His high energy holds your attention and he explains the material as many times as needed until you get it, which makes me feel much better about the class now than when I first registered for it.

      • I agree with Ram and Craig. Since the first day of class i loved the energy of Prof. Reitz. Its very encouraging and makes me want to come to class and learn more about statistics.

  3. I noticed a lot of the students were recommending to take statistics during summer courses because the amount of work that needs to be put in. Since I already struggle with math I wish I would have known that before hand but I decided to take statistics now for a couple of reasons; summer courses are expensive, I wanted to get the class over with, and I read many great reviews about Professor Reitz online and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of having a great professor just because I wanted to put this class on hold. Positive comments about Professor Reitz also seems like a repetitive theme. So even though I am taking this class with my major classes at least one good thing came out of it, a good professor.

    • You did the right thing by not taking it in the summer, speaking from my own experience. It gets very overwhelming and all the topics build on one another. Statistics is not one of the easiest subjects it requires a lot logic- it will get very complicated by the end of the semester. Hopefully Professor Reitz will help us understand Statistics better.

    • I agree with Zinaida — while some students like the summer course (and find the immersive, fast-moving experience to be helpful), many students find themselves overwhelmed by the fast pace. It’s much easier to get behind in the summer, and harder to catch up!

    • Hey, it was definitely a smart move on your part not to take statistic in the summer. in the summer time they condense a semester work of materials in a month time it would of been a lot of pressure for one class, excluding what kind of professor you get. Prof Reitz is very helpful so far , lets hope for the best.

  4. Math has always been my favorite subject. i think i like math because every questions can be solve with an answer. After reading all through all the post, i realize most of the students had very good comments of Prof. Reitz and his teaching. A good professor helps a lot to the student in learning from the class. From the previous few classes and all the comments from those post, i know i have choose the right class with the right professor. i think the best way to help for the class is to look through the problems we do in class and review them after every class to help us memorize and understand it more.

  5. A lot of students wrote that taking statistics in the summer will be easier because its a much shorter semester and it will make a person concentrate and remember all the formulas on the Final. I personally took Statistics in the Summer and I failed because it went very fast and all topics became very confusing building on top of each other. Yes, you can practice at home and do all the HW’s but it is SUMMER! You wont spend the whole day practicing, especially if the topics learned are going by so fast and every other day there is a test. Retaking the class right now and taking it slow, makes me spend a lot more time on each topic. I believe by the time we have a test, I will be sure in my self that I will pass it. In the summer you learn for two days – completely two different topics, next class you meet there is a test. I agree with many comments concentrating on the way professor teaches, its the most important thing. I think in the summer it was my professors’ fault that half of the students in class dropped or failed the course . This semester I feel that I’m understanding statistics more- thanks to Professor Reitz, it makes me believe i can pass Statistics with a good grade. Also, mandatory WebWork assignments gives us a chance to practice and understand material more. To be honest, not all do HW when it is not checked in class. Yes, doing it once or twice for ones’ own benefit is a plus but while taking over so many courses a semester, it can get very overwhelming- by the end we only have time/energy to do mandatory work.

    • I have to agree with Zina, I took a summer class last semester and it can become very overwhelming… each day learning a new topic and the next day learning something else, and at times having to incorporate what you learned the day before. It can become quite difficult if you didn’t grasp a previous lesson…

  6. A) I read some responses that say to do your homework on time. I read some other responses that told me that said statistics was hard and its needs a lot of attention in order for you to do a great job. Also this class needs a lot of practice to guide the development in statistics.

    B) Right now, I think I can give statistics more of my time. Finish my homework early and practice when ever I feel weak on a given topic or just to develop some type of repetition because that is the key to doing good in any class. Also , I feel like to stop the class from being difficult you have to review and test yourself so I am willing to take my mathematical skills to the next level.

  7. In reading through the posts I agreed most with two students “edmundo” & “ehuffman13” in what is needed in order to succeed in this course. As a professor they both agree that you teach the course thoroughly but there is assistance available to help with all the course work. I feel this has a lot of relevance to me since I wasn’t the strongest math student through my education but, with enough practice and memorization I figured out what to do. I wouldn’t make any changes to the course at this current time since there are enough additional work to help with understanding how the course works to help with any issues. A lot of the students who replied gave positive feedback so I know whats in store of the semester.

  8. I think that when it comes to Math which is not my strong suit, a regular semester is better. A professor seems to take more time to teach a section and also seems more willing to go back to something in the next class if you didnt quite understand the in the previous class.The pace overall in a regular semester can be more efficient for someone that is having a hard time. I recommend looking over notes whenever you can and practicing problems. I usually use my iphone to record some professors and listen to them on the train or whenever I can. I tend to drift off in class at times and its always nice to be be able go back and listen. Its especially helpful to listen again as I’m looking over my notes.

  9. Many students were recommending to take this course in summer because it is difficult class and it is better to focus only on statistics. However, I agree with A. Ciceron, it is not hard subject as long as a student knows basic algebra. And the professor teaches great with examples. I think a student should take previous math courses in order to be able to understand the material.

    B) After reading this reviews I should go over my previous notes so it will be easier for me to solve the problems.

  10. One thing I noticed that basically most of the students in this summer course mentioned was that knowing basic algebra and basic math such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division is key to having a better understanding of the material covered. Another thing that really caught my attention was that students were mentioning that practicing the material a little bit each day can really make a difference. This also helps you remember everything that you need to know for future exams. Currently, I am not having too much trouble with this course because this semester I am forcing myself to do all of my homework on time and really pay attention in class. Luckily, as I have mentioned in the first openlab assignment, I do enjoy math very much, and so this is not very stressful. However, that does not mean I wont study or go over my notes and formulas that I need to know for the exams. I will practice and go over any problems at home that seemed a little confusing in class in order to be prepared for the final exam that will cover all the material from the beginning of the semester.

    • I agree, I believe that knowing basic maths is very much needed to pass this class. Then if you don’t know basic Maths then this class will be a struggle. Yes we do need to study and revise to keep up with the formulas

  11. According to alot of the students they recommended that we take the class in the summer so that we can focus on just statistics in a shorter period of time. But I have noticed that as long as you review the work a few times a week and you have a professor that you can understand, the work will not be that bad. Based on all the advice given I would say that asking for help is the biggest and most useful advice. I don’t know about anyone else but most of the time I feel like I can manage and figure things out for myself. But for subjects like this it helps if you can let your pride go and ask for help from your peers or better yet the professor.

    • I couldn’t do maths during Summer, to me that’s more like “Ninja Maths.” A little too high speed for me.

      I agree, there ain’t no pride in keeping silent and failing. It cost time and money.

  12. A. One of the students mentioned that In order to succeed we need to know basic math skills such ass adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing especially decimals and fractions. I believe that, we really need to be able to know where a decimal point goes after division or multiplication because one mistake makes you get the wrong answer.
    B. I believe that doing the assignments gives us to get some practice and also helps us to remember the formulas

  13. Most students said the summer course helped a lot because you focus in on the topics and remember the material better, It caught my attention because it seems reasonable and true. If you take one course compressed over several weeks in comparison to taking several the outcome should be better.

    Based off the comments, I would most definitely make time to focus and study on statistics to make sure I comprehend the material given.

  14. After reading Professor Reitz’s previous student’s responses i have taken from it that I should definitely study a little everyday so that i’m more familiar with the material instead of cramming around test time. I do agree with that especially when I struggle with Math so much. It unfortunately can be a little bit difficult to motivate myself to study but I have to push myself if I want to succeed in this class as well as in life. Many of the students also suggested taking this class in the summer and though I have done that in the past and I did luckily pass my math class, i feel that taking a summer class isn’t for everyone and i’m very glad that i’m taking it now and not in the summer when it’s crazy intense.

    • Yes, summer might be recommended but as for me i like a break from school and its kind of hard for me to focus more during the summer. I prefer taking it during fall/spring session but its my personal preferences.

  15. As I read though all the responses from last summer MATH 1272 course, most of them see to hit right on the money. The advice from Clark Monzon dated on July 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm seemed most relevant to me personally. His advice seemed most relevant to me personally because in his first sentence he said, “My advice for new students taking statistics is to make sure you have professor Reitz.” When I was registering for this class I was just looking for a statistics class that was not in the morning and on Tuesdays and Thursday. I didn’t really cared about the Professor I got, I just needed the class, luckily I got Professor Reitz. He also goes on to say, “The most important knowledge that you need in order to succeed in this class is practice”.

    Based on this advice, the changes that I can make right now to help me with this course is by practicing. I haven’t been practicing as much as I should. But that stops today, from now on I will Practice, Practice, Practice!

  16. A. Some of the advice that seemed the most relevant to me is that its good to keep practicing the problems so that you can become better at it each day and putting in a good amount of time and effort. Also making sure to do the homework and getting it done on time.

    B. Some changes that I would make right now is to study and practice the materials more so that I can have a better understanding of what I am doing and eventually that would lead me to doing well in class. An also become more motivated when it comes to Math, since its not one of my favorite subjects I don’t think I put as much effort in it as I should

  17. Advice from the Past

    If i were to come back to MAT1272, I would tell students to always give their homework attention. The homework is a way of practicing and experimenting without having points taking off as strict as tests do. You can also access the professor for help or advice so that you can use it for future references. I try to always get my homework done before the due time so that i can summarize what i learn within that week and and get the good amount of study. That doesn’t mean we should study less because we did the homework. It just means we put more effort in it and it can assure us more when taking the test. Some changes i can make right now is study a little each day so it sink in to my head and be more easy for me when studying.

  18. Math has never been a subject of choice for me, I don’t hate the subject, I prefer to memorize then to analyze. I saw many points throughout reading the passage, some good and bad about statistic. What mainly caught my eye is the response that I read from students about Professor Reitz. They stated that he has very helpful teaching methods and he has a great knowledge about the subject that he teaches. In my opinion, it’s just the beginning of the semester and I could thankfully say that all the comments made were about Prof. Reitz. He is very enthusiastic about teaching statistic and from my own experience very helpful. I saw a few comments about taking statistic in the summer, I think that would be a big mistake, considering that summer courses condensed a regular semester of teachings into a month. Honestly not to flatter Prof Reitz, I would to say that he should continue on to teach as he is doing so far.

  19. After reading all the responses, the majority of the students suggested anyone who takes statistics take it in the summer because its less of a burden to take alone, rather than in the spring or fall with 3 other classes. They also suggested to stay on top of your work, try not to miss a day because it would be a challenge to catch up, and practice a few problems a day so when it comes to the test the information would be fresh in your mind. A few of the students mentioned that it would be in anyones best interest to take statistics with professor Reitz because he is simple, straightforward, and he takes his time while teaching for everyone to understand. Based on this advice, I would make it my best interest to practice a few problems a day rather than waiting till the last minute to get my work done.

  20. A. Some advice that seemed relevant to me is that if you should do all your assignments on time to know if you are having any trouble doing any of your work. You should also pay attention in class to help learn how to do the problems. Lastly, if you do not know how to use a certain formula, you can ask the teacher for help.

    B. Based on this advice, if I practice my problems if I am having any trouble, it should help me understand more and if I have any troubles, I can ask people for help.

  21. One of the comments of the summer class for statistics was very interesting.
    The statement by ehuffman113, had actually caught my attention to how serious the Statistics class was for the emphasis on understanding the importance of formulas and practice. I can relate a bit, since i had once taken physics and the use of formula is dependent on logic. For statistics, i believe formula also has a bit of logic and simple understanding while trying to remembering what it is, when/how to use it. ehuffman113, also discusses about learning from tutors and proposed a link which seems a bit helpful (, though also emphasizing the importance for being in an actual class, than just using the website. i also appreciate the advice of preparing and memorizing basic operations such as square roots since it can help for almost any section of math and statistics.

    From the advice, i can say that preparation is key for studying with independent learning as well. Asking good questions or even small ones will still help a person to be less confused or nervous before taking a final exam. Lastly, i’ll say that it is best to look for help with other students who may have a similar problem or are more adjustable to almost any math problem.

  22. A. One of the most relevant statements on the Summer class’s responses was the one that explained how important it is to have a basic understanding of algebra in order to take this class. Because so many students are instantly unmotivated when they take a math class, they learn just enough to get through the class and as soon as they pass for the semester, none of the information is retained. However, they fail to think ahead in the sense that they no longer have the pre-requisite knowledge. As much as they felt the relief of subconsciously choosing to not remember the information from previous classes, it really can lead to someone falling behind in a more advanced class.

    B. So far, most of the class material has been a review of the topics covered in my high school statistics class – however, I need to keep going over my work in order to make sure that I am doing things the right way, every time. Statistics is a class that requires a lot of steps for one end result, and if one step is done incorrectly, that can carry through the entire problem and you can end up losing many points for one silly mistake. I have to do work slowly and carefully.

  23. After looking through the posts the advice that seemed most relevant was the advice of keeping up with the homework and practicing whats been done in class. Because i do believe in “Practice makes Perfect”. Even if i completely understand something i would forget it if i don’t constantly don’t remind myself of it.

    That’s something i have been doing from the beginning of class and it has helped me tremendously. In class i find myself solving problems before the prof is even finished doing it, which i believe is because i practice at home and when i come to class its all fresh in my brain.

  24. While reading through the responses, I found one response pertaining to using all resources around you to succeed in this class to be very useful. “There is a lot of material and formulas to learn and practice. You may need extra help learning it, so identify people who can help you early on. In addition to the professor and your classmates, there are tutors at the learning center. But not all of the math tutors can help with statistics, so know which ones can and when they are there”. I strongly agree with this person, if you’re not sure of something, it wouldn’t be very bright not to seek help. In City Tech, there’s so many resources you can use to succeed in all your classes. There’s no changes I would make at this point to help me with the course because as of right now, everything is going smoothly with me. But, if I were to begin to struggle, I would definitely follow this advice in seeking help from all the resources around me.

  25. First and foremost, this is a crucial time of the semester. Finding what study habits work and doesnt work for you is important. I found this excerise very helpful. The best advice that i gathered was to practice, practice, practice! I seem to forget how important it is to keep doing these probelms so we dont forget. It seems on tests i get very nervous and forget all that i have studied, but with practice hopefull I will become a pro at stastics.Hopefully this will help me keep going and stay on top of things!

    • I totally agree, Julieann! I believe that it’s true what they say: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” If we have class on Thursday and I don’t study all weekend, when I come back to class on Tuesday, I don’t fully remember the lesson from the following week. In situations like that, I just pull out my notes and reread the problems that we did in the past.

  26. A.What advice seemed most relevant to you personally? Why? (you can copy/paste a short statement, or put it in your own words)

    The advice to practive everyday and use all your resources it very important to me. It’s what I need to do to focus on the material.

    B.Based on this advice, what changes can you make right now to help you with this course?

    I will try to do more HW problems at home even if that means I have to drop a class. I ended up with 6 classes, so that’s been a roadblock to practice.

  27. Yarinett said: “Statistics is a class that requires a lot of studying and attention too so it is better to take alone than for example along with biology or macroeconomics.”

    Her advice was pertinent in a sense because I am only taking this course and Nutrition this semester because I want to give my all to these courses. It’s often difficult to fully focus on other classes while taking a science. Just like math, science requires a lot of attention because it requires being dedicated to reading the textbook and retaining information.
    Based on her advice, I can start studying early on in the course. I go to class on time, take excellent notes, and ask questions when necessary. I make sure that my notes can help me to figure out problems when Professor Reitz isn’t available. I go to office hours whenever I can just to make sure that I’m clear about everything.

  28. I also agree with Yarinett who said: “Statistics is a class that requires a lot of studying and attention…” because I feel like once you are lost there is no time to come back. It is always easier to tackle any problematic situation head on then to procrastinate to try to understand later on. This is me speaking from experience. So far I am capable of understanding statistics because I have been writing “NEAT” notes and even pose my questions on my notes so I remember to ask what troubled me. I am a stubborn individual so I will first try my best to understand where Im going wrong with any problem before consulting the professor and that to me is one of my problems. There is nothing wrong with asking for help so by reading more then one of these comments that is something I will work on during this semester in ALL of my classes. I am taking statistics and anatomy II so I do not have time to fall behind therefore attending all classes is key and the buddy system is also important.

  29. “ehuffman113 says:
    June 30, 2012 at 11:20 pm
    1. There is a lot of material and formulas to learn and practice. You may need extra help learning it, so identify people who can help you early on. In addition to the professor and your classmates, there are tutors at the learning center. But not all of the math tutors can help with statistics, so know which ones can and when they are there. ”


  30. I read through the advice from couple students and i believe the advice to praticing the problems over and over and doing the homeworks really helps alot. The more you practice a problem the more you become comfortable in doing it. One thing i believe i need to do is stop procrastinate and do things on time.

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