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First Day Back (again)

Posted by on Monday, January 9, 2012 in Academics, Engineering, General Information, Teachers.

It’s Monday (January 9th) night, and Vandy’s first day of classes is over. Coming back was bittersweet: Bitter because I’m leaving behind all the things I love about home like sleeping in and all the important people! Sweet, though, because I got to see friends I’ve missed a whole bunch for the past month, and got to return to feeling like a productive member of society. With a few books in my backpack (I’m surprisingly light on textbooks this semester compared to last semester, when every class had a large book) and a notebook to take notes in until I could decide how to organize each class, I arrived at Math 250: Mathematical Logic this morning, essentially unsure about what to expect. I’ve had the textbook for several days, but it might as well have been written in Chinese for how well I can understand most of it. Turns out Logic is going to be exceedingly abstract, highly difficult, but really interesting!

Honestly, it has a smiley face on it. How bad could it be?

From the third page: “Let A be a nonempty set, and let R^A be a binary relation on A, i.e., R^A subset(AxA). For (a,b) E R^A we also write aR^Ab.”

Where is the smiley face in that?

After Logic, I sauntered over to another Stevenson building to Mechanics of Materials, a Civil Engineering course required for Mech. E’s. A few observations: 1. That classroom was packed. 2. Civil engineers are apparently the “bro’s” of engineering – it seemed like a much larger percentage of frat brothers per person, and an even larger percentage of Sperrys. We reviewed some Statics concepts (which I haven’t used since spring semester of last year), then I departed for my final class of the day – Probability and Statistics for Engineers.

The textbook for Probability and Statistics is an Open-source, online textbook. Saves me hundreds of dollars and promotes free thinking - COOL! Click to go to their website.

Prof. Bruff, to be blunt, is clearly awesome. He’s taught at Harvard and is the Assistant Director at the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching, the combination of which make him very, very good at taking his knowledge and giving it to us. His website (he uses his own instead of Blackboard) introduced us to the class via an animation of the “Course Roadmap,” and students are required to have a social bookmarking account on either Pinterest or Diigo in order to share relevant Statistics content on the web with classmates. Preeeetty cool.

More to come on tomorrow!

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