No respect

I gave the last lecture in my Fourier class today. I think the course started alright, but I seemed to be losing the students for the last few lectures (not helped by the fact that three of the ten hours of the course were 5-6pm on Fridays, but a good workman doesn’t blame his tools…). Trying to get some immediate feedback (although still too late to do this year’s cohort any good) I handed out sheets of paper and asked them to write down, anonymously, something they understood, something they didn’t understand (a request greeted with an uncomfortably loud giggle) and any other comments. Although I only got about a dozen responses, there were some commonalities: indeed the first half of the course (Fourier Series) seemed well-understood, and the second half (Fourier Transforms) much less so; I should try to include more examples of the use of the methods (which will require changing the syllabus a bit), and more explanation of what the mathematics mean.

But one remark stood out: “Your handwriting is really bad. And you smell. Sorry.” Further comments — perhaps from readers who might have some knowledge of the subject — welcome.

6 responses to “No respect”

  1. Emilicon avatar

    Decidedly unfair comment – your handwriting really isn’t so bad – some letter formations show good flow, speed, and intelligent simplification which increases the speed without impairing legibility to a marked degree. Wit, if not sarcasm, and frankness are shown in the open a and o and the sharp pressure. I-dots are exact or slightly ahead and accentuated, confirming a far-sighted wit and critical ability. Arcades in the upper zone show respect for tradition and convention.

  2. barryd avatar

    Sorry, I shouldn’t hide in your lectures so often.

  3. Andy Lawrence avatar

    My feedback in first year Scopes for Dopes type courses has always covered a bewildering range – everything from “Borrrrreeeeiinnnngggg” to “Prof Lawrence rocks !”. Come to think of it, the latter could have been sarcasm…

  4. Tez avatar

    Hi Andrew, yours is the one course my personal tuttees have almost to a person brought up when I’ve asked about what they were struggling with so far this year. They weren’t specific about what pieces though.

  5. KM avatar

    No respect whatsoever!
    Maybe they were not taught maths properly at school or not enough pure maths
    Or maybe you should be looking at reading for a PGCE
    Regardless, you definitely do not smell.

  6. mewmewme avatar

    I think the most illustrative example of how your teaching could be improved was in one of your last lectures, when drawing the example of convolving a Dirac Comb with a ‘triangle’ function (you redraw it twice, as I recall). I only realised what a good example this diagram was after about 10/15 minutes of looking/thinking at it and realising what it was/what you meant…
    So, yes, your intentions and material was good, but the clarity was a bit wobbly.
    Sorry this is a bit late, and via a funny source but hey, its feedback.
    And no, I wasn’t taught anywhere near enough pure maths at school. It’s a way of thinking I still can’t do properly.