A year ago at this time, I was about to embark on my sabbatical. I had drafted a couple of brief sections of what would become Active Calculus, but had almost nothing of substance written. By May, I had a working draft of four chapters of material, essentially the standard topics of university calculus I; in August, I posted that publicly, and a handful of folks adopted it for use in their fall semester courses.
As I noted in a couple of earlier posts, it became almost immediately clear to me that a free, open source text for only calculus I was nearly useless without the corresponding chapters for calculus II. Realizing that my sabbatical was exhausted, I set about recruiting some helpers: my GVSU colleagues David Austin and Steve Schlicker, both accomplished mathematicians and authors, each volunteered to write a chapter (David on differential equations, Steve on sequences and series). Personally, I worked at length over the summer on a chapter on constructing antiderivatives, and then spent much of my “free” time during fall semester pounding away at a chapter on applications.
The result is that, in spite of my frequent thinking that a January 1, 2013, deadline was totally unrealistic, we’re ready to unveil next week the next four chapters of Active Calculus. The combined materials provide a sufficient base for a two-semester calculus course. I’m excited to share it, to have a couple of my GVSU colleagues use it in our second semester course, and to start getting feedback. With this big deadline met, I’m also enthusiastic about having the chance to blog about some of the feedback from students and peers who used the differential portion of the text during fall semester.
So, consider this post a promise and a celebration. The promise: calculus II materials join those for calculus I on Wednesday, January 2, to ring in 2013. The celebration: 500+ pages in just under a calendar year (with deep thanks to David and Steve).