MATH 180 and 184 Workshops, Fall 2012
This website gives information about the weekly workshops associated
to MATH 180 and 184. These workshops are a key component of these
courses. Surveys of students done in the past indicate that the
vast majority think the workshops have helped them do better in
the course, and analysis of student performance on common final
exams supports this perception.
Different problem sets are used in the two courses, but the
structure of the workshops is identical. Problem sets and solutions
will be posted after all workshops for a given week are
complete; see the links immediately below.
MATH 180 Workshop Problems and
184 Workshop Problems and Solutions
The weekly workshops are 80 minutes long and start the second
week of classes. There are 12 workshops. The workshops are an important learning
element in the course. In MATH 180, workshops are worth 7.5% of the course grade; in MATH 184 they are worth 10%.
The primary activity in the workshops is working on weekly
Practice Problems, using prepared problem sets. The activity is
to be done in groups, and is to be facilitated rather than
tutored. In addition to this group work, in most workshops
students will individually work on a Problem to Hand In at the
end of the workshop.
Two TAs, one a graduate student and one an undergraduate, lead
the workshops. They do not tutor, but rather they facilitate.
Workshop Learning Goals
- Actively think about and solve problems involving calculus
- Interact with peers to discuss mathematics and problems involving
- Learn how to evaluate your own work and become more self
- Receive feedback to help identify possible weaknesses for
- Practice computational skills necessary to solve problems
- Acquire and reinforce basic problem-solving skills including
reading problems carefully and writing down information contained
in the problem as a prelude to solving the problem
Groups have three or four students each. They are formed at
the start of term and then generally remain intact through the
remainder of the term. Groups work on blackboards. Students in
each group take turns writing at the blackboard, and are not
sitting down and working individually.
The workshop grade component is based on group participation and
performance on the Quizzes. Effort rather than a correct answer
is the main criteria for earning thse marks. Click here
for details on how workshop grades are computed.
The 80 minutes for each workshop are usually broken down as
- 65 minutes for groups working on the Practice Problems
- 15 minutes for students working individually on the Quizzes
There will be no Quiz at the first or last workshop or at one
midterm workshop in which a survey will instead be administered.
- Your instructor will cover the relevant facts in class before
you come to your weekly workshop. To take full advantage of the
workshop, review your notes from class and/or the textbook before
coming to your workshop. The workshops are your chance to practice
working on new problems, not to learn the basic material or work
on homework problems. But do try some homework problems on the
relevant material before your workshop. The better prepared you
are, the more you will get out of the workshops.
- The workshops are not a replacement for homework. In addition
to attending the workshops, you must conscientiously work on
the homework your instructor assigns in order to do well in the
course. Participating fully with your group in the workshops
should make it easier for you to solve problems yourself on homework
assignments and exams.
- Remember: the point of the workshops isnt getting
the final answer correct. It is the process of actively
engaging in problem solving with your peers. This process
will help you more than simply being told how to solve
problems by your instructor or TA. Mathematical problem solving
is a skill that is best learned by doing rather than watching.
- Relax and make the most of this experience. Its probably
different from anything youve done in the past and may
seem daunting at first. Once you get the hang of
it, youll find the workshops a rewarding, fun activity,
just like the thousands of students whove done these workshops
in past years. Who knows, maybe youll even want to volunteer
to become a TA next year!
This website is maintained by Rajiv Gupta,
the workshop program coordinator.