My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

I like Mondays

After a weekend of work, Mondays are refreshing. I don't work on Mondays, and I get to go back to school and learn.

I've been back for over a week now, and I'm enjoying it. This is my easy term; I only have five courses: Foundations and Issues in Education, Educational Technology in the Classroom, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra I, and Ring Theory with Applications. Yes, two education courses and three maths. I love math. :D

Of the education courses, the technology one is online. I knew going into it that it would be easy, but as it stands right now, it's rather inane: for the first four weeks all we have to do is read, then we get a test. Then we have to work in groups to create a blog about teaching technologies, theories that apply to these technologies, etc. This wouldn't be so bad, except that the reading material is full of typos, passive voice, prepositions at the end of the sentence--I'm very glad that I don't have to buy a textbook, but this is almost torture. Spellcheck, please!

My other education course looks like it'll be more interesting. At least it's mostly discussion-based. That makes it easier to sit through those hour-and-a-half classes.

Did I mention I love math? The university atmosphere works well for me. I like when someone who knows more than I do challenges me (i.e., with an assignment), then I go and teach myself what's required to figure out the assignment. If I have trouble, I ask for help. I know that many people don't learn this way, so the lectures are helpful too. However, I'm glad that university gives me the opportunity to learn in the way I want to learn.

Of my three math courses, linear algebra is the easiest. It's basically computation: vectors, matrices, and of course, linear systems. Differential equations are slightly harder. I ordered my textbook from the United States in order to get a cheaper price, and it still hasn't arrived. :( That will make doing this first assignment problematic.

Ring theory interests me the most. We haven't started discussing rings yet; last week we covered divisibility and prime numbers, and this week we are working on modular arithmetic and congruence classes. Rings are in the next chapter. This area of math fascinates me because it involves constructing the basic operations of math from scratch, allowing us to define new mathematical systems (presumably to tackle certain problems). That's rather exciting. And there's nothing quite like the feeling I get after figuring out a nifty proof.

I'm trying to blog more regularly--not once a day, but at least a couple of times a week. I'd planned to blog over the weekend, but I was very tired. I found that the major reason I wouldn't blog (other than being tired) is that I had no compelling idea for a post. Now I'm keeping a list of potential topics in Todoist, so that should generate more posts.