So I heard Vox is expanding his repertoire of advanced education resources and I noted I could potentially do a couple of courses in Calc. Then I realized, hang on, I don’t need no stinking permission. Why, it’s current year people. A person could just up and do that sort of thing if they were so inclined.
Also seems like a CONSCIENTIOUS sorta thing to do, don’t it? :-) (I’m starting to hate that word.) Might even get a job that way, it’s more likely than what I’m doing right now.
Anyway, I figure such a course has gotta be extremely high-quality, it’s gotta be information-dense, it’s gotta exercise a great deal of discernment, and it’s gotta include holistic reasoning and jokes. Why such standards? Well, there are two reasons.
First, I expect the intended audience is the sort who would rather watch a fifteen-minute, information-dense video multiple times, rather than plod through the hour-long, For-Dummies presentation. This is where the jokes and holistic reasoning come in most prominently, to encourage such re-engagement and also impulsive reflection on the videos. If a person thinks back on a funny moment from the video, they’re strengthening the associated mental pathways (via mental rehearsal), which can be harnessed for skill-building. It’s the best sort of free practice time.
The second reason is explained by the SolitaryRoad.com guy:
Why did I go to all of this work? The answer is that I wrote
it because of my deep dissatisfaction with most mathematical
exposition. I think most mathematical exposition is poor. How
best to present ideas calls for a considerable amount of
sense and judgment. This represents my attempts to the job
the way I think it ought to be done.
There are going to be some technology details that need to be worked through. I figure the best way to work through them is to post, as a first video or two, a brief FAQ on the technology I’m going to be using (Mathematica, Geogebra, etc.) and maybe a tidbit on my practical philosophy for this endeavor. This will also give me some practice in going from loose ideas -> show notes -> presentation and lecture. Since I’ve never done the YouTubez before, I expect that when the camera turns on I’ll be hit with the same question that plagues physics students putting pencil to paper on an exam: “Where do I even start?” Might as well get used to that with a couple of practice videos. Plus, it’ll help me to estimate the rate of time expenditure per week(?), which I expect to be considerable.
Going back to the issue of audience for a moment, I figure there are two reasons for learning calculus: 1) to solve a class of physics problems, and 2) to show off how smart and wonderful you are. Now, since nobody except Isaac Newton ever knew what calculus was about before they stumbled into the classroom, we’re going to assume the audience falls into group two. Not that there’s anything wrong with that :-). I figure that’s a potential source of engagement to be harnessed, by letting it be known that I’m treating submitted problem sets as an IQ test. (Even I can write an HTML form.)
The structure of the course will be heavily influenced by reason number one, and I expect to allude heavily to odometers and speedometers. My intuition says car speed is the most accessible application of calculus ideas at all levels of experience.
More thoughts on this later tonight (I think).