Opening Week

(This post was originally titled “Opening Day.”  Given that the entire week rushed by before I could post it, I updated.)

Classes started this past Monday at GVSU.  It has been the usual whirlwind getting things organized and started for my three classes.  Besides it being the usual exciting time of year, there’s been an added sense of anticipation in the air for me as I know some of my colleagues (near and far) are using some of the materials I’ve developed for this project.  In particular, three GVSU math faculty are using the text in place of our traditional book.  On Monday, I walked into one of my classes and, as the professor before me was wrapping up, I saw Active Calculus displayed on the screen.

As people use the text and share feedback, I hope to have some discussions of their reactions here on the blog.  If you happen to be using either the text or activity workbook and haven’t told me, I’d appreciate hearing from you: boelkinm at gvsu dot edu.

According to my GV colleagues, the early student reaction is very appreciative.  I’m sure that the price contributes significantly to that reaction:  free for the .pdf, $12 from the bookstore for a printed copy totaling about 250 pages.

Two other short thoughts about the start of the semester:

– at one of the startup meetings I attended, the director of admissions at GVSU gave a presentation on who our students are.  A whopping 42% of them are first generation college students.  For many of them, college is something approaching a financial hardship.  I am certain that purchasing several $100-$200 texts adds to that challenge in significant ways.

– two of my 62 students in calculus 2 have talked to me about challenges they’ve faced in purchasing the text.  The main issue seems to be waiting for some financial aid matters to be wrapped up so they have the cash available to make a purchase.  I so badly wish I could say “Here’s a .pdf.”

Working on it.

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