OpenLab #4: Reflecting on the Class

Every college class is planned with certain goals in mind – to convey ideas, to encourage certain kinds of thinking, to provide opportunities for learning, for exploration, for practice.  A typical plan consists of a mix of different activities, both in and out of class, and hopefully each activity contributes to achieving the goals of the class.  In this assignment, I am going to ask you to think about some of the different things you have done for this class and reflect on their effectiveness.

Some of the activities that make up this class are listed below.  This list is not comprehensive (it may be missing things!), and includes both in-class and out-of-class activities.

Partial list of activities:

  • lectures
  • webwork assignments
  • openlab assignments
  • exams
  • answering questions at the board (often at the start of class)
  • doing examples on the board (often during the course of a lecture)
  • working on problems individually during class
  • group work during class
  • asking/answering questions by email
  • office hours
  • working on your own outside of class (doing homework, review problems, studying, etc)
  • working with one or more fellow students outside of class (doing homework, review problems, studying, etc.)

Assignment (Due Tuesday, July 2nd).  Respond to at least two of the following questions (1 or 2 sentences each).  Feel free to discuss activities that are not listed above, if you wish.

  1. What activities have been most useful to you in preparing for exams? Why?
  2. What activities have been most useful to you in making connections between the class material and other areas of your life? Why?
  3. What activities have been most useful in building community in our class (creating a comfortable atmosphere, getting to know your fellow students, building trust)? Why?
  4. Are there any activities that you wish you had spent more time on (this includes activities that are not on the list, but you think should be included)? Explain.

54 thoughts on “OpenLab #4: Reflecting on the Class

  1. 1. The activities that has helped me prepared for the exam is when you answer questions at the beginning of class. Asking questions helps me out because the professor really takes his time to explain and when you don’t understand he still takes his time to explain to you or ask for you to send a email. Another activity that helps me out is reviewing problems from the daily handouts and class problems.
    2. The activity that has helped me connect with the real world are the open lab assignments. It allows us to really think about the class in another perspective and I enjoy that.
    3. The first day we did an activity that was a ice breaker that helped because we introduced ourselves to the person sitting next to us. Also group work helps you see how other people solve problems.
    4. I feel like all these activities have been helpful. I appreciate the quick responses to the emails because when I have a problem I know I can get a response within a reasonable time. You don’t often find professors who take time out like that for their students.

    • I so agree with your statement, Professor Reitz is a hands on with helping students at the beginning of the class and with problems with homework or test reviews.

    • I also agree with you the activities we do on the chalk board at the beginning of class and asking the professor questions to help us better understand was really helpful too me also.

      • I agree with all you guys. I really never met a professor like Mr.Reitz who is so patient and really go through the step of each problems. Ask long as we have questions he is willing to answer it. The things people said about him in ratemyprofessor i agree with them.

  2. Some of the different things that I have done that are effective for me are helping m fellow classmates after hours in the library mostly every day after class for a minimum of one hour. I also have phone calls with classmates to help with the web works homework, the effectiveness of these models; helping classmates in class and out of it also reinforces the material the knowledge that I am learning. the web works assignments are effective to the extent that some problem may be arduous then other and having the unlimited number of attempts allows me to effectively use the phrase” if you don’t succeed the first time try, try again.”

    • rojano, Liss.
      yes helping others in class is great and creates a comfortable environment in the classroom for other students to work together and communicate. i also talk to my female classmates after class discuss math problems as well. it’s a great way of learning from one another and being able to have a good math experience 🙂

    • I agree with you, being able to work in class with my peers allowed me to ensure my knowledge of the material was sound. Being able to bounce ideas off classmates and working together to solve problems further reinforced what I had learned. The ability to work socially in groups provided a more pleasing atmosphere which lead to me feel more comfortable about doing math in general

  3. Rojano, Lissette.
    working in groups has been effective by communicating with my classmates and learning other methods thy use to solve problems. the time we take working in groups we get to know each other more as we work together and establish good relationships to help one another. it has it’s Pros and Cons because when there is group work there are individuals that do the work, others that don’t, and others that pop up randomly to a group and act like a teacher, so its annoying but by now i know who to avoid and how to keep it moving/ignore and move to the next problem.

    i love that the professor is always walking around to see what we are doing and if we need any help. This keeps me on my toes because i know he will look at my paper to see what i’m doing, so i make sure i do my work. But, it also shows how he is genuinely concerned on how we are doing and is there to help us, and i absolutely love it.

    • ” Pros and Cons because when there is group work there are individuals that do the work, others that don’t, and others that pop up randomly to a group and act like a teacher, so its annoying”

      I completely agree this is known as social loafing. Some members do not do the work therefore it gets a little annoying. The pro is that those who do the work learn more than those who don’t.

    • i love that the professor is always walking around to see what we are doing and if we need any help. This keeps me on my toes because i know he will look at my paper to see what i’m doing, so i make sure i do my work. But, it also shows how he is genuinely concerned on how we are doing and is there to help us, and i absolutely love it.

      I absolutely agree with you on this. I favored the Professor walking around because he was also letting himself be a resource for answering questions if he walked past, and keep you on task.

      • I agree with you about how the professor would walk around the class and ask students if they needed extra help and that is a good way to not get distracted during class too,

  4. The activities that have been most useful to me in preparing for exams are the webwork assignments and working on my own after class. I believe that the webwork assignments challenge students and is helpful by letting us try the correct answer as many times as we want. The activities that have been most useful in building a community in our class would have to be group work during class and working fellow students outside of class. I like group work because “two heads think better than one”; therefore, allowing students to help each other out. I also think studying outside of class with a few fellow classmates is great because some students prefer individual help.

    • I agree, the web work assignments have been extremely helpful. Our after class study groups have offered me a lot of assistance in understanding how to understand mathematic problems that I never understood. The study group has been a very supportive non-judgmental environment and all are encouraged to participate. When assisting your classmates, I have appreciated your determination specifically. You make sure that everyone involved in the study group understands the mathematic problems you are strong in. I’ve appreciated your assistance and patience.

  5. I think the webwork was very helpful and also working with my classmates at the library prepared me well for the class exams.However the best activity to me was the handouts in class, for I can always go back to it when I’m doing my homework.The whole structure of the class was great in my opinion for instance, when working in class with my fellow students I gain a better understanding of the problem we’re working on. In the group I usually worked with everyone brought something new and maybe a better way to view what we’re working on.I absolutely loved the first day when the prof made us interacted and exchange info with each other, for I’m an introvert and would have not done that on my own.

      • Well it’s math. I actually have to come out of my shell with people around me that understand what’s going on in the class, and asked questions ortherwise you wouldn’t know I’m in the class.

    • Hi Nathalie,
      you are very right with the hand out issue. Though I omitted it in my response, I must admit that it cannot be thrown into jiffy. I use it my self and I call it “Personalized Indispensable Note”.

  6. Some of the various things I have done in order to assist me range from, asking questions from the professor and other classmates, meeting with other classmates after after class for group study meetings, getting and offering support to other classmates having issues on mutual mathematic problems. As well, I have also stayed in contact with classmates via telephone regarding homework (web assignments) to ask questions and offer assistance. The study groups and telephone conversation have helped because I have the opportunity to understand how another classmate interprets a mathematic problem. In return, this has often helped me understand mathematic problems better. The classroom lectures have been a great deal of assistance for me as well because each lesson is explained in detail and concise manner by the professor. Each class member is encouraged to ask questions and give feedback; this supportive environment has been instrumental in my learning process overall.

  7. Kenneth M. John
    OPEN LAB #4: Reflecting on the class

    1) The group activities in the classroom were very rewarding. We were able to share ideas which increased the probability of arriving at the correct answers. The group sessions also created a cordial atmosphere in the classroom.

    2) The revision and problem solving exercises immediately before the official start of classes have been most helpful to me.They served as a bolster for my mathematics
    skills, re-enforcing that which I had learnt previously.
    This class has given me a level of success in mathematics which hitherto I have never attained. Thank you for your efforts Mr. Reitz.

    Kenneth M. John

  8. There have been many different activites that have been most useful to me in preparing me for an exam, and i would say one of them would be webwork. It a great way to learn how to get an answer to a problem and have as much attemps in order to get the right answer, and you also get to see what you did wrong. Another source is the review sheets, because they would have answer keys that if one doesnt know how they get an answer they can always ask either thur email or during class, which is a great way to understand a problem misunderstood. Always asking question at the start of class is a plus, because its not just helpful to one person but everyone.

    Every class letcure was very useful to understanding a new lesson. Every example was a great way to show how to get an answer and for me the best part was when anyone didnt understand and the professor took its time to answer the question and understand it. I see that he has patienet and loves what he does and actually cares about the students which is something very new. i Enjoy when anyone doesnt understand or me as well you can send an email and get a response to see what was your mistake.

  9. The web work assignments and to be able to take as much time as I can with the assignments for the week. Their is know one looking over my shoulder or looking at me saying words unspoken that you still don’t get it. I feel so confused while doing my homework but, it’s ok because I can take as much time to do it. I enjoy the help from my classmates and the Professor with questions from the web-work assignments . Why web work because I’m not working on a set time , I’m going at my own paste.
    The Open lab helps with extra credit to gain points. It helps in other ways to express your struggles with math through words verses solving equations, word problems , working in groups during class, converting /metric systems and others. I’m appreciated with this way of gaining others ways of helping struggling students, as well as working with groups after class as well as being able to email the professor and getting a response or just going to his office hours. I didn’t take advantage of them but I did have a study partner and sometimes others classmates joined us and that was a plus.
    I wish that Professor Reitz had more time and that the class was longer maybe so that I could’ve retained the rules, steps etc……..

  10. 1)What activities have been most useful to you in preparing for exams? Why?

    Webwork assignments have been the most useful. The assignments are graded automatically therefore it shows if you got the wrong/right answer. It was helpful because I was able to retrace my steps in a problem and view where the mistake was made. The questions Mr. Reitz answered before class was also helpful. Those few minutes clarified any confusion. From this process I learned to pinpoint where I went wrong so that it could obtain right answer.

    2)What activities have been most useful in building community in our class (creating a comfortable atmosphere, getting to know your fellow students, building trust)? Why?

    I believe that the community and atmosphere was initiated during the first day of class. Professors create the atmosphere of the class based on their enthusiasm, knowledge, and passion.
    Mr. Reitz had all the above components that made the class fundamental. During the first day of class Mr. Reitz mentioned the concept of being non-judgmental, asking questions, and letting go of fear. The dedication and passion Mr. Reitz demonstrated throughout the course fueled the class with positivity and determination. This made the dynamics of the class a very genuine one.

  11. In my personal experience the activities which have been most benifical to me was taking time before each class to review any questions which I was unable to answer. This ensured I tied up any loose ends which I may of had and in the long run helped to boost my grade. In additional I enjoyed the fact that there was a daily handout covering the material for the day. It allowed me to easily look back on all the work which we have done for the semester in an organized manner. I strongly believe these two factors were key in my ability to grasp the material and maintain an understanding

    • I totally agreed with your post, the daily handouts were indeed really helpful. They served as reference as I was studying for the exams. I too believed this was an essential key in learning all the material in such a short amount of time and in the most organized way.

  12. 1.What activities have been most useful to you in preparing for exams? Why?
    -Handouts and review sheets as well as the open communication with the professor. Handouts and reviews allowed me to remember and review key info and prepare for exams. Discussing problems in class and via email allowed me to identify solutions when I was stuck.
    3.What activities have been most useful in building community in our class (creating a comfortable atmosphere, getting to know your fellow students, building trust)? Why?
    -The Openlab has been a great place to build community. When I read and get to know my fellow students’ posts often it creates comfort in knowing that I can relate to one individual or another.

  13. 1.What activities have been most useful to you in preparing for exams? Why?
    Lectures, web work assignments, problems done on the board both at the beginning of and during class, notes, review sheets, and group work were all activities that helped me do my best on the exams. Mr. Rietz always did his best job explaining how to do problems in more convenient ways. The web work home works were great help to practice what I did in class. The review sheets and handouts gave an idea of what will be on the exam and the group works helped get to know better ideas of other students in the class.
    3.What activities have been most useful in building community in our class (creating a comfortable atmosphere, getting to know your fellow students, building trust)? Why?
    Group works and open lab assignments were the best activities that helped make connection to my classmates and get to know them and their ideas related to math. These activities were a way to communicate and build a comfortable atmosphere and trust with other class mates.

  14. The open lab is notably a new system in the math class. This system was so awesome that the most important aspect of it the indirect studying (prep) encouragement it cave me. It made me work on things in the syllabus in such a way that it felt very mandatory due to the time limit. It also enhanced my mastering some formulas on my own during the openlab assignment. The openlab was great because it made ever one work for one reason or the other.

    It must also be heralded that the Math lectures were commendable as well but, that; I would give the kudos to Prof. Jonas Reitz. He is an outstanding professor who puts his whole being to the lecture along with a big smile all through the period.

    Working on my own outside the class with the tutoring staff was another great opportunity for moving forward as I am not math in clan. The tutorial helped me a lot in that I used it as a refreshing class after class as it was more of one – to – one class of its own. It made more confident and put away the numerous questions I would ask Prof. Reitz by email. But I must confess I used some of the office hours with Prof. Reitz.

    The groups work in the class was a great idea for the fact that it opened an avenue for students to interact and learn from one another. I gained from it big time and gained confidence through it as well. The atmosphere was refreshing and it uplifted the students’ confidence and made us feel at home.

    I wish the lecture time were longer than it is, more would have been absorbed and the heads would have compounded more formulas at ease. Despite this so short a period, I know I improved in my math skills.

    • I agree with you on the time. I myself wish we had more time with this class. The weeks went by so quickly and I feel like I needed more time to practice. I know I can do better but the time is limited and it’s a lot to absorb.

  15. 1) one of the activity that was really helpful for me was when professor reitz takes times early morning to answer question from homework or from every review exams sheet we had.

    3) I think the activity that we had in the first day of class when we had to introduce to everyone, also when we had to get in group. I think that activity makes everybody feel more comfortable in the environment.

    Jorge Talavera

  16. The activity that has been most useful to me in preparing for exams are the questions professor Reitz answer at the beginning of every class. The questions that other students ask are very important to listen to because they help to clarify any doubts. The professor takes time to explain the problems and the lecture. The review sheet has helped me to make a connection with the class material. Some questions were explained during class and they helped me to have a better understanding of how the test would be.

  17. There were two activities that really helped me out and prepare for the exams in class. The first was the questions we asked the professor and he would put on the chalk board and answer and how patient he was trying to show us. The next activity is a toss up between the web work assignments and the group activity with my classmates. Both were really helpful to me because with the group activity if I couldn’t quite understand my classmates would help me and I really felt that was useful to me. It helped me not to be so anxious with the problems.
    I wish would have spent more time on answering questions from web work in the beginning of class because some of those web work assignments were mind boggling on how to put them in the right format and I just thought how the professor gives us daily handouts with examples too really help us. Professor Reitz style of teaching really helps the students learn in a relaxed environment and most important he is makes himself available to help us either with his office hours or email.

    • I agree. Professor Reitz is very patient and he takes his time when explaining. He shows that he cares and we’re very lucky to have him.

  18. 1. The review sheets and handouts helped me the most. I was able to focus on the topics for each exam and at least I knew what to expect. That made it a bit easier and eased some of my nervousness.

    2. The group work in and out of the class was great because it helped me share my ideas and I learned from my classmates too. It was inspiring and extremely helpful and I wish I had the time to do it more often.

    3. Last but not least, I have to give credit to Professor Reitz for being soooo helpful and patient. He did his utmost best to explain and solve every problem thoroughly. I didn’t quite understand math until I started this class and I’m happy to be a part of this class.

    • I agree with you because the handouts were specific and even offered explanations on the formulas etc. and I think all of the students appreciate Professor Reitz approach and patience with us.

      • I agree with you as well I believe the professor did as great job of doing his best to help in trying to get everyone to understand the material in such a short amount of time. I wish I had attempted to use the group work resources available it may have helped me understand some things better.

  19. #4: Reflecting on the class

    I would have to say in this math class it was fun. It was not at all boring at all… Professor Reitz gives a good vibe. He was not boring and he didn’t teach to fast even though it was a fast pace course. Professor Reitz came to each student and explained his lesson… wow what a teacher!!!!!! I liked that in this class that he mixed technology into the math class. I’m like “YES!!!!” And the new things I learn about webwork…. Go PaperLess.. Webwork. The Openlab has been a great place to build community with other class mates. Find out what their thinking saying and if you feel the same way. Like I said before more technology with math, very cool. Its cool to work with other people in the class because you can break ice and get to know people and see if those same people are having the same problem as you. I liked when Professor Reitz put us in groups. And the countless questions that Professor Reitz answers… so the handout papers were a big help to me. All in all this class was a joy to wake up for and go to. Professor Reitz you give faith in liking math.

  20. Well, This class surely touched every aspect of my learning sensation. I believe all the activities that was planned and implemented, executed nicely. It all started with building a comfortable atmosphere in which everyone felt connected with their classmates and could ultimately enjoy learning together. This to me, was most effective in setting the stage for a productive summer session because it did build trust and a atmosphere where everyone was willing to help each other. It is important to know some of your classmates because everyone is in this together, some people tend to loose track of that and fall through the cracks because of pride.
    One of the more helpful activities was answering questions at the start of class. Doing this, cleared up all my confusions before the beginning of a new lesson. I did not even have to ask all that concern me because my fellow classmates had the same issues. The web work home work was also very useful in preparing for exams because it gives you a chance to exercise the thinking process in approaching some of the more complex problems.
    This was a great class overall. From the lecturing right down to the group work. Everything worked well and balanced for a quality learning experience.

    • I agree that answering questions such as homework problem at the start of class also had help me cleared all my confusions too. It was really useful because sometime i would be struck in a problem and not knowing what to do until the next day in class.

  21. 1. The activities that has helped me prepared for the exam is when we are doing group work during class. Because I like to listen what people think and see how they solve your problem. Answering questions at the board is helpful too.
    2/3. I think group work during class one of the most useful activities to make connections and also useful in building community in our class. It’s nice when people are all walking together and share ideas with different people.

  22. 1) What activities have been most useful to you in preparing for exams? Why?

    Some activities that has been useful to me in preparing for exams are doing examples in class and the view sheets that was giving out before each exams. Another activity would be the office hours because I was absented once and the office hours did help me understand the material better.

    3) What activities have been most useful in building community in our class (creating a comfortable atmosphere, getting to know your fellow students, building trust)? Why?

    The activities that has been most useful in building community in our class would be working as a group on problems during class. Also nobody is scared to ask questions and it help build a comfortable atmosphere for those who were scared.

  23. This class was great because no one was really scared to asked questions. Webwork was the very effective because you can attempt the problem and continuously try until you get it correct, or if not then, you ask about the problem in the morning. Unlike traditional math classes you work on homework in your book then you have to wait until the next day to figure your answer. I liked working in groups and getting to know my classmates, often enough one of my peers can answer a question that I am not certain about, instead of bugging the professor every time. This is my first time I have use math and the computer together and I think they should implement for every math class if it isn’t being done as yet. I hate math but all the attributes given in this class made it very easy. It was very structured.

  24. What activities have been most useful to you in preparing for exams? Why?
    I think the most useful activity in class has been answering problems on the beginning of the class from the pervious day. That way the information was still fresh in our heads and we could clear any confusion before going to the next topic.

    What activities have been most useful in building community in our class (creating a comfortable atmosphere, getting to know your fellow students, building trust)? Why?
    The fact that you always answered any question we had without making anyone feel dumb. You didn’t mind going over and over the same question again and again. I think it made everyone feel comfortable to ask any question.

  25. All the activity was really helped me a lot. Every time professor he was really earnestly walking around then checked each student’s paper how to we are solving the mathematics problem. I was feeling comfortable, and I have to do something when he looking around even feels very sleepy. It was good for pay attention. The open lab assignment was feel comfortable. I got work every day. The web assignment system is good for save the time, simple and save the paper.

  26. What activities have been most useful to you in preparing for exams? Why?
    Most definitely working and studying in groups with classmates. Doing all the review sheets and understanding step by step the process of solving problems.

    What activities have been most useful in building community in our class (creating a comfortable atmosphere, getting to know your fellow students, building trust)? Why?

    I think getting to know people in class was a great way to learn more in class, I was lucky enough to connect with some fellow classmates and exchanged numbers. In doing so I was able to get help in homeworks and in preparing for exams. I’m really glad that I did this, I really find it hard to be as outgoing as other people are and at times I hardly speak to anyone in class. In this math class I learned that creating some friendly environment in which people help one another is a great way to do better, I definitely will be more open to people for now on.

  27. The activities that have been most useful in preparing me for exams are the class lectures because the professor is diligent in going over the material and tries to make sure that everyone understands and is patient in repeating what may be difficult to understand. I also found the webwork helpful in terms of helping me with exams though at time i found some problems difficult to tackle. I wish I had spend more time on asking/answering questions by email and maybe attempting to work with one or more fellow students outside of class. The reason being is for me math is extremely difficult to understand and while in class I think I get it at times I come home and try to answer on my own and become confused again. Making the extra time to study with my peers may have been more helpful though with my schedule it was difficult to do.

  28. The method that was most helpful to me in preparing for exams were the web work and the additional exercises in the textbook, theses options gave me an opportunity to keep practicing the steps learned during the lecture for solving the different types of math problems. I probably should have spent more time on the open lab assignments.

  29. Professor Reitz is truly amazing. Hopefully he’s available next Summer 2014 for MAT 1280. I have no regrets of sacrificing my Summer for this class. It was truly worth my time. I would gladly recommend him to anyone and I hope City Tech appreciates having him there. We need more professors like him.

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