September 6th, 2007


Taking a Math Class...

Yesterday was my first day of class (MATH 8201 – General Algebra). While I am pretty confident that I'm ready for graduate level algebra, the text book (Serge Lang's Algebra) was a bit intimidating with its 900-page girth.

The back cover of the text declares that it is intended as a basic text for a one-year course in algebra at the graduate level.... Figuring two 15-week semesters, that's roughly 30 pages per week with no time out for tests or quizzes. I've had the text book for three weeks now. I cruised through the first 25 pages or so in an afternoon. The next 25 pages took about two weeks (and some of the things are just sinking in now). (Though the next 25 pages only took about two days.) There were definitely sections where 30 pages a week would require intense focus.

I was figuring that the class could go basically one of the following ways:

  1. Instructor says, Read and understand these 30 pages for Monday, and we will start from there.
  2. Instructor says, Monday, we'll start talking about things from these 30 pages so it wouldn't hurt to familiarize yourself with them.
  3. Instructor says, I'm not going to follow the book very closely. It's a good reference, and there are some sections where his presentation is the best. But, I suspect that while we won't be following the book directly, we will cover about two thirds of the material in the book over the course of the year.

#1 would have been really rough between home, work, and volleyball. In fact, the instructor went with #3. (Actually, he went slightly further saying, well, maybe not quite two thirds, but certainly at least 60%.) But #3 roughly translates to Keep up with the lectures, and you will be fine.

Whew, but still Yay!