OpenLab Assignment #2: Advice From The Past

Last June I also taught this same course, MAT 1180, in summer school.  Just before the final exam, I gave my students the following assignment:

Imagine that you are invited to speak on the first day of MAT 1180, 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, June 20th, is to:

  1. Read through ALL the responses (there are 42 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?

Extra Credit. For extra credit, write a response to one of your classmates’ comments.  Do you have any advice?  Be kind.

48 thoughts on “OpenLab Assignment #2: Advice From The Past

  1. (A). Having read the responses, I was attracted to Christopher O’Connor’s response. I think O’Connor’s response made a lot of sense due to the following points he raised at various spots of his response.
    1. He pointed out the issue of value. In it he called the students attention to the vital point most students forget, which is payment. Most students forget that the course is not free and since it is not free. Considering this point, it is essential for a student to get back the value of the money he/she invested into the course as well as his/her time and energy.
    2. He also mentioned another great point, which is “asking questions in the class”. There should be neither need nor point to hide question due to shyness or feeling inferior to other students in the class. The student’s logic should be as follows; IF OTHER STUDENTS KNEW IT OR HAD THE BENEFITS OF THE MATH 1180 COURSE, THEY WOULD NOT BE IN THIS CLASS. THAT BEING SAID, EVERY STUDENT IN THE CLASS IS EQUAL AND IS THERE TO LEARN HENCE ASKING QUESTIONS AND STUDYING HARD ARE BOTH VITAL WAYS OF LEARNING.
    3. Christopher also pointed out the essential point of punctuality and constancy in attendance. Summer classes are not but a compressed version of the four months project. If equated to the four months semester period, the ratio would be approximately one week of the summer class is to one month of the regular semester. So missing a day-class of the summer class is equivalent to missing a whole week of the regular semester class. Too bad for a student! A lot is missed unless such student has a way of catching up.
    4. As thoughtful as O’Connor was in his response, he touched the straw that breaks the camel’s bone, which is Home Work Assignments. To get the home work done needs a lot of effort, but getting it done enhances one’s ability and it creates efficiency.
    I strongly agree with his opinions due to the fact that they were thoughtfully written and made a lot of sense to me.

    (B). Been that I have always endeavored to do all that O’Connor mentioned in his response, the only change I think I need to apply is the step up my practices as much as I can because all he said are worthwhile.

    • I also took a lot away from this comment.
      PS: Since you calculated the ratio of missing a day of class, and this is math class, What is the ratio on time spent going to the bathroom during class vs a semester? I’m always worried about that one! 😉

      • I think the ratio of time spent going to the bathroom during class vs. a semester would be calculated via probability method due to the fact that it is not done frequently by the same person and the time spent varies depending on what is being done in the bathroom. That also counts because such time may never be regained. I honestly advise that every one gets properly prepared before coming to the class except when nature brings the unexpected.

  2. A.) After reading through the statements, I felt I could relate the most to the posting by barbarageorge says:July 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm.
    She emphasized that even though there is a lot of information to retain in math, you’re likely to remember it in the short period of time given during the summer sessions. Because there are many concepts to learn, this statement holds true for me; I’d much rather learn what I need to know in a short time frame with the ability to retain it as opposed to it being spread out over a semester and forgetting what I learned perhaps the first week of class.
    She also emphasized that it is necessary to practice. I understand that without alot of practice, it is more difficult to understand as the lessons progress. I have found that practicing everyday helps me with retaining some of the information better.
    This former student also mentioned that it may be important to move forward when getting stuck on an exam question. I found this advice extremely helpful because it will save time. As well, the answer may often come to you if you take a break then return to that particular problem.

    B.) Based on the information given by barbarageorge says: July 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm..
    I plan to continue practicing math problems that know I have difficulties with and it has been helpful to get assistance from various sources. I.E., math videos, assistance from other students and math teacher. Ensuring that I ask for assistance immediately as opposed to waiting has also been a proven way for me to learn easier. I can not be afraid of asking questions because I have many sources and people available to assist me. I plan to ask more questions, become more organized with my notes and be willing to assist others with math topics I know that I excel in.

  3. A. After reading through the various statements I agreed or connected with the statement of “chimene”. This student stated that you have to be actively engaged in class which means asking questions. The advantage that we have in this class is that we have a enthusiastic professor who is organized and has great mannerisms. This student also pointed out that one source of motivation can be the amount of money you pay for the class. I usually receive financial aid but to pay $985 for one class definitely pushes me to excel. I like to ask questions before or after class and even send e-mails.
    B. Based on this student’s advice I can try my best to practice what I am not good at. Also use YouTube as a resource to break things down further.

    • In response to Jael Aly. I agree, thinking about the amount that has been paid for the class is motivation to try hard. I have met with a few students that are excellent in Math. They are patient and willing to help. I’ve taken their assistance and also search for answers online. With practice often times I’m able to put two and two together (no pun intended). Great comment!

    • that amount of tuition alone would make anyone to work hard to ace this 1180 math class. O’Connor mentioned it in his own response and every one would agree that it is a vital point and worthy enough to make a serious person work harder.

      • I feel the same way in regards about getting the most out of the class or any especially since your paying out of pocket. Your more motivated when it’s your money for any class. DITTO!!!!

        • I agree with all of you, not only is that money from your pocket but make the most of it and motivate yourself to have a better understanding of math. Math is everywhere.

          • I also agree with all of you because its important to work hard and not waste time or your money which you spent on this class out of your pocket. Its a great opportunity to do your best since time flies by fast and since you also sacrificed part of your summer. I mostly and highly recommend Mr. Reitz as a math teacher who makes learning math seem easy and fun.

    • “This student also pointed out that one source of motivation can be the amount of money you pay for the class. I usually receive financial aid but to pay $985 for one class definitely pushes me to excel”

      I agree with your post regarding that. Not many students get their summer classes covered by financial aid. Failing a class that is worth $985 not only hurts your GPA but also your bank account. That is a strong motivator to study and pass.

  4. Hello Math 1180 students!!!. The bit of advice is that you check out the professor before entering class on” rate my professor”, another is to take done two classmates numbers, is get a study partner or group, find or surround yourself with kind and helpful people that don’t mind spending that extra time with your short comings in math. Ask questions when your unsure of the concept, formulas, or problem don’t be scared or ashamed because as all the students mention from the summer last year about Prof. Reitz he is very accessible and doesn’t make you feel as though math is beneath your understanding and grasp.
    Like in the class before mine in 2012,” chimene” stated that Prof. Reitz makes you feel confident in asking questions nothing is to small or insufficient when your not understanding the steps,formulas. He is willing to answer before the class begins and sometimes after class if time allows. He is very organized, patient when helping us understand the work being covered. He is considerate with going over homework step by step methods with solving them. Ask as many questions to till you feel uncomfortable or he is willing to stay back and announces his office hours for extra help.
    Practice, practice, my biggest problem with math is signs placement because if you get that wrong the whole answer is wrong. I especially have trouble with all parts of math so no one part but the steps that go along with math frustrates and have me confused. The more I practice it confuses me, not take anything away from professor Reitz ,when I get home it still gets me upset that I can’t retain the steps. You have to practice, practice and set yourself around people who wants you to understand as well as prof. Reitz. My biggest mistake is still not being comfortable asking question from professor when it comes down to understanding the work.
    My best advice is to make sure that you surround yourself with patient study partners/group. We all would like and want a good patient and dedicated, patient, professor like Professor Reitz.
    Keep practicing night after night that is the best advice that I could give any other student taking this summer class next year. Thank you Andrea for spending the extra time with me after class and on making yourself available .

    • I did the same thing by going on and got really good reviews about Professor Reitz. And its all about practice in order to succeed in any subject because your brain cannot retain everything at once. Just try doing the problems over and over and continue to ask questions even if your scared.

      • I also saw great reviews about Professor Reitz on, which encouraged me more to take the class. And your welcome Regina! Helping you study and explaining things to you makes me catch my own little mistakes as well.

  5. Kenneth M. John Open Lab Assignment #2

    I am pleased with the methods used to teach this course. It would be most helpful if
    students were provided with the actual solutions of the review sheet problems after
    the test. If this suggestion is implemented grades might improve on the final test.

  6. “Shardae Sales says:
    July 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm
    Welcoming new student to 1180 I would tell them to stay focus and to listen and it was very great taking this class in the summer being that it was every day I was able to stay on track with homework and studying only having this class twice a week is hard and you need to be doing this type of math everyday to understand it . I would also tell the to take this course with Professor Reitz being that he is great with the fundemental of math and he doesnt just go over once he goes over it a number of time to make sure everyone understand and last I would give them my best wishes”

    In response to this advice
    A- Besides focusing and listening the one thing that resonates with me is doing math every day on my own to further sharpen my math skills.
    B- I could be more focused in class and dedicate more time to studying at home. I only work on webwork but I think I should do the problems in the book for extra practice. Also, during class I sometimes drift off to daydreaming when the Professor is explaining a problem I understand. Sometimes I come back to reality a bit late and he has already moved on to something else. So I definitely need to focus on focusing!! T___T

    • Cami, I agree with your comment. because i too tend to sometimes day off when i think i know a topic and lose focus, which in reality every second counts. I also believe that having extra practice, besides the webwork, is great. I am trying it and You Tube is a great source if sometimes the book isnt clear.

    • I agree with both Sandra and Jessica comments because I feel like I am in the same position. I lose focused when the professor is talking about a topic I already know. I know that everyone have their own pace in math and some people needs more time.

  7. After reading all the students from last years response, i agree with christopher oconnor. He points out reality, by this i mean he said “remember that you are paying for the class so put as much effort as you can into the class because you don’t want to waste that money if you fail”, which is so true , so make your money worth it and also make your brain happy, by learning, take every chance you can to make everything count. Another advice that Oconnor gives, is to always ask question, if a problem isn’t understood, because this isn’t just going to help you and other people but will make you see your mistake and say “Oh ” at the moment you will realize what tiny mistake can do. It is so important to ask for help, because it will get you far. Don’t be afraid and ask.

    One advice i have for anyone is to always slow down, don’t rush, because one mistake can get the problem wrong and get you off track during a test. Although you don’t have all day for an exam take a deep breath and don’t rush but make sure to check when you can.

    In addition, practice, practice and more practice will help you with anything. The more problems you practice the more you will get how to do it. This is my goal for the rest of my semester and not rushing.

    • I totally agree with what O’Connor said about the money being paid for a summer class, that is so imperative when taking a class that you’re paying for out of pocket even if you’re partially covered. If you fail the class, it’s a loss for you and a waste of money and time in the long run.

      All I know is that I’m super glad that I got Professor Reitz as my math professor this time, this guy made math actually sound fun and appealing to me with his hyper-self – and that’s something that no math teacher in my life ever has achieved for me.

  8. I totally agree with Christopher Oconnor, the tuition alone motivate you to try your best at passing this class.Shardae Sales makes a good point about during this type of math everyday in order to retain what you learn. You need to be consistant in that particular subject I chose to take it in the summer, because I figured I would only have to deal with it; and no other subject. The professor makes it easy to ask question, he’s non-judmental and easy to talk to, in my opinion he speaks math.

    • I TOTALLY AGREE thats part of my motivation. Sadly this summer term I didn’t get full tuition, I got half so I have to pay out of my pocket for this math class… Im not mad, Im just gald I got a happy go lucky professor that explains the math work and make it easy to ask a question. In this math class we have hope……

  9. Chimene wrote, “I learn from doing so just coming to class and taking notes does not work for me. I have to apply what I learn into practice.”
    A) Chimene gave very useful advice. The student mentioned that practice is the key to learning math. A good grade takes effort, practice, and tutoring . He mentioned other helpful resources for the future such as, “” and youtubevideos/yourmathteacher. This information is very relevant because I can use it for this course and future math courses.
    B)Based on Chimene’s advice I should start going to the tutoring center to get help in the areas that I lack strength in. I should also practice immensely and review all past work to keep my mind refreshed for the final.

  10. After reading all of the student’s responses from last year, I totally agree with Tash J. Tash says that “perfection is the practice of action”, and this statement is very true. In order to truly understand any math concept, it is vital to constantly go over math problems. This is why I really like WebWork because it allows you to keep on trying until you get the right answer. Based on Tash’s advice, I will begin to complete the example problems on the daily handouts the professor gives the class.

  11. After reading the comments of other students I would say that a class is like a investment. Summer sessions are short with lot of information to process. You have to know what your putting yourself into. You must ask questions, the professor will be there for you, when they can. Don’t be afraid and ask. You want to get your monies worth because some students are paying for a class and you”ll be surprise how time flies by in a few weeks. Two good ideas are Tutoring and pair up with a classmate who know more than you do in math.

  12. A) After reading all the students from last years response, I agree with what olgarhina says on July 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm. she mentions how its easier and more convenient to take this course in the summer. Time flies by fast and everything you learn stays in your head. you don’t have to deal with forgetting anything and you only focus on one class the whole time. I also agree with what
    lsuarez0930 says on July 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm because she shares similar thoughts as me and olgarhina.” For me it was very helpful having tests every week because it forces me to stay on top of my studies and when you see the same stuff everyday it makes you feel more comfortable than if it was only once or twice per week like in a regular semester.” I totally agree with these words.
    B) Based on these advices the changes that I can and should make right now are that I should only focus on this class and not waste any time here and there and take this summer class as a great privilege and opportunity to do my best.

  13. My name is Aileen Alamo, the advice that seemed most relevant to me personally was Barbara George who states that something important is when you are taking a Math exam if you get stuck on a problem move on to the next problem then when you are done with all the others come back to work on the ones you got stuck on, by doing this you won’t waste time on one problem and you will have enough time to finish the whole exam.

    I agree with this because sometimes I start an exam and become stuck on attempting to get an answer that I may not get as quickly and spend to much time on it. It’s better to look through the exam do the questions your sure of first and the ones your unsure of come back to not to wast time.

    Based on this advice I would just make sure that when I am taking an exam I do not get stuck on one problem without doing the ones I know first especially since there is a limited amount of time to complete the exam.

    • So true don’t get stuck too long on a problem and you don’t finish the exam because then you have lost points on which you could have gotten some points. If you are having anxiety, I suggest taking some deep breaths and closing your eyes for a few seconds or minutes. It really helps me when I’m feeling anxious.

  14. hello,
    My name is Jorge Talavera

    I think I would tell students not to be afraid of math, but neither to be confide. They can not be distracted, try not to miss class and pay attention when professor explain otherwise they will be lose in the class. Do not be afraid to ask question even when everybody understand and you don’t, will be preferable looking stupid and not clear . Also, I support the idea that if in the ex-amen get stuck on a problem, go to the next problem, so we don’t waste time and we can finish the exam on time.

    All these advices that I have said, I have applied to myself and that’s why I understand barely the class. I said barely because as I said in the first homework lab I am very opposite to math classes and I just take it because is a requirement. (So don’t take me wrong, professor Reitz teaches very very well)

    God Bless all

  15. Hello!
    A) After reading all the students from last years response. I would say that a class is straightforward, and I like it that way. I don’t have time to think about anything else. I stay focus on topics.
    B. Based on Sharess Isaacs’s advice I can try my best to not miss a class.

  16. Hello fellow 1180 Math students,
    After reading all the comments, I definitely agree that Math 1180 or any of your classes is investment in yourself. So don’t throw your money away or financial aid because you have to pay that back! My advice is also to check out rate my professor so you can see what professor may be better for your learning style. Because some professors you can not relate to their style of teaching and that can only hurt your grades, so be very mindful of how you learn and what tools are needed for you to succeed. I’m not a math person but I must pass this class and I’m very thankful Prof Reitz is such a great teacher, he makes you feel at ease in class and very available on Internet and office hours to help you.

    • i agree with you, i went to rate my prof as well and read great reviews on Reitz also. Im not a math person either but in order to succeed we must pass and get a good grade! And i am pretty sure we both will do great as long as we do all that we can to pass!

  17. Hey, its Rojano L.,
    A) i agree with, “Tash J. says:
    July 3, 2012 at 1:49 am
    Focus!!! You have to make up your mind that you desire to be in that percentile above 97%. Hard work pays off and is the road to greatness. Math is a subject that is all about perfection. If you make a mistake–no matter how small–the problem is wrong!”
    Focus is the main key to being on point in class and understanding the material gives us. I believe that once arriving to class as individuals we need to know how to have our main focus on this class and try to void other non-math related things to our minds. Math is all about knowing the formulas and being precise, one wrong step can change the whole answer,its all about doing the best that you can and giving all your undivided attention. i personally am unable to do so unfortunately, early in the morning there are millions of things in my mind that my focus isn’t always there, wish i was perfect but i’m not………
    B) so, being more focused would be the one things to change as well as following all my formulas correctly and not making any errors, its always important to look back and double check your work. its not easy working and going to school, especially when there is a huge burden at work all the time. oh well, i know it will all get better 🙂

  18. Kameela Edun says:
    June 28, 2012 at 11:51 pm
    I think I got all the basic information I need to pass the class at the beginning of Professor. Reitz class, his instructions are clear and simple just do what is required of you study and work hard and you will pass. For me radicals were the most confusing for me I guess it the rules that you have to follow and remember to get the correct answer which made it challenging for me. For me the most important prior knowledge was if you’re not strong in math like me get help before you take the course maybe with simple workshops given by the school a little help goes a long way. I would recommend this class in the summer if you’re strong in math.

    Jeong, Park
    I agree i think radicals , all math thing were confusing. But the professor his teaching is very clear. Even when I lost his explanation, I was just tried to pay attention few minute, and then I can understand. Math was all ways make me feel heavy and before all of my math class mode was very quiet, boring. But, Prof. Reitz made the class feel “fun”, “fresh”, “vitality”. It is very impressed.

  19. The advice that seems most relevant to me was the first one, and the person wrote, “There is nothing in particular that I wish I had been told prior to the class because I already knew what to expect….just don’t miss a day, because the one days topic you miss can make you feel like a lost puppy when doing test or homework”. With this advice the changes that I would make right now would be to read the textbook and do the homework problems listed on the syllabus.

  20. A) The advice I think that seem most related to me is from Chimene. What she wrote in her first two paragraphs is something I believe in too. For example, the professor you choose to the teach you in a subject really do matter. So for me I always do my reasearched through fellow classmate or ratemyprofessor. I don’t always agree with the stuffs students said on the site but it gives me an idea of how this professor is. Also I usually choose my class according to the days and time not so much on the professor unless I had a choice.
    I never really had trouble in math but sometime there are problems in which I am just stuck in. When I am stuck in a problem I usually go back to my notes and compare it. But I always try my best in practice more problems like that until I get it in the end. Math is a subject where practice comes in handing because slowly with more practice you will feel more at ease. That’s what happen with me I had math class all my life and the more I see similar problem the easier it feels.
    B) I guess to daydream and lose focused a bit less on the easier subject because maybe I could learn something new.

    • I agree, and I believe that having the right professor is a BIG PLUSS. I’ve taken some Math in my life before this, and most of my professors made me hate Math since they couldn’t explain it in a way I could relate to. And here everything makes sense..such a relief.

  21. Barbara George wrote “Please practice, practice, practice thats the only way to pass this class. Maths is only learnt through practice.”

    (A) I totally agree with her 100% percent. Math is only learned through practice. I’ve had my fair share of struggling with linear inequalities but all it takes is determination and constant practicing. I’m not giving up.

    She also mentioned “if you get stuck on a problem move on to the next problem then when you are done with all the others come back to work on the ones you got stuck on”.

    (B) Great advice from Barbara. Whenever I’m doing a test and there’s a problem that seems a bit difficult, I move on to the others because math is time consuming and it doesn’t worth spending half the time trying to solve just one problem. Over thinking also makes me nervous and confused so it truly helps to move on.

    • After reading Barbara’s advice, my aim is to use whatever little spare time I have to keep practicing. She seems so positive and motivated me to do better.

      • Kenneth M. John replying to Miss Martinez

        The observations you have made and the advice you
        have received are crucial in order to be successful in
        mathematics. Do not give up.

  22. First of all I must admit that I’m truly happy to be in this class. It is very challenging to me but I’m always ready to learn regardless. It is certainly not an easy task having to juggle between school and work and since my days are very long and nights are short, I’m constantly tired but with determination and faith I will not give up. As for the tests, they’re not difficult but somehow my mind goes blank and I shut down at the first glimpse of the paper (ugh). Am I just too nervous? Probably.

  23. There is a lot of useful advice in the comments provided by the former students. One that seemed to be stated over again in few response was to try not to miss any classes. I think it’s crucial when taking a summer course, since there is a lot of information provided in each lecture, and it’s easy to fall behind. I missed one of the classes last week, and coming back the next day I felt little lost, and then I had to take extra time on my own to figured out what was covered and find some tutorials to make sure I understood the material. Now, I just have to make sure to make it to the rest of the lectures, so that before the exam I’ll have to only review everything instead of trying to self teach myself.

  24. So, although it is very difficult to watch the NBA finals and do this open lab assignment simultaneously, this must be done, there is no time to slack off. Tash J made a very good point “Focus, and make up your mind to be in the 97 or higher percentile. Work hard”. You only have a month to give it all you got, That’s it, then you can enjoy your the rest of your summer. O’Connor also brought up a very good point, don’t waste your money and FAIL. Nobody have time for that. To help myself right now, I just need to do my homework and study hard for this third test. I would encourage anyone to take this class in the summer and if you got professor Reitz as your teacher, your in the clear, take advantage.

  25. The advice I would give to other students who want to take this class, is that it is better to take it in the summer session. It is not because is a short semester. But it helps to keep all information fresh in your mind. Sometimes in long semesters you lose a lot of time and you tend to forget a lot of the information given. My other advice would be to always practice and review the math problems out of class. I think that is the key to success in this class. Practice makes it easier to take the test and not feel a lot of pressure when you taking it.

  26. After reading all of the responses on the link provided, I have to say that I gotta agree with Christopher O’Connor’s response the most. Mainly because..

    A.) The part where he said that you must put your effort into the class consistently and constantly if you want to pass your class with a good grade is the one that rang most true to me, mainly because I sometimes get occupied with other things in my life to the point where I forget to put effort into my studies or where I’m simply too exhausted by then. Like with my first exam grade, I got a 90 because I invested a lot of time studying here and there over the course of the week leading up to the exam. However, with the second exam that we just received the grades for today, I got a 76.. which came as a disappointment to me, but it wasn’t shocking since I got a bit overconfident and didn’t study as much as before. True, it’s a passing grade, but I’m not gonna be satisfied with anything lower than a B+.

    B.) Using O’Connor’s advice, I will work on investing more time to my studies so I can get a higher grade on the next exam this upcoming Wednesday and on the final exam on July 5th. Like.. right now, I’m gonna start studying with the exam review after I post this comment.

  27. One of the advices they gave that interest me the most was about missing class.
    Having daily classes and so early can be hard, however is something that should be done. I can see that missing just alone one class will make a person miss on a lot of information in this course.

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