Thursday, February 26, 2009

Welcome to 1st Year Engineering Mathematics

Welcome to University life ! You have made it ! You have proven to everyone that you can pass a rigorous set of exams as entry into University - do take time to feel good about yourself. Universities are exciting and dynamic places, full of opportunity and the potential for growth. My advice is to jump right in ! Join a sporting club, try something new, form a band, introduce yourself to the person standing in the line next to you, have a debate with a Marxist anarchist and even share a joke with a Professor (a good one please !)

Inparticular, welcome to students enrolled in Engineering Mathematics 1 at Swinburne University of Technology. The first session subject is a classic introduction to Engineering Mathematics, the major topics covered are:

Functions and Graphs

The subject matter is similar to the material covered in then final years of high school but with great emphasis on applying mathematical techniques to engineering problems. As you are now at tertiary level, we are expecting you solve most of your own intellectual problems - I'm simply providing some structure to the process and , hopefully, wise guidance. You will be assessed by a combination of tests (2 worth 15%), a final exam (worth 55%) and weekly assignments (worth a total of 15%). A student notebook is available from the book room that covers all the material taught in the course and has numerous problems that will be discussed in class. The classes will be a combination of lecture and tutorial. The full details are covered in the subject description sheets handed out in first week and available on blackboard.

There are several ways you can get help with any problems you are having:

A) through discussion with your classmates (there is plenty of opportunity for that)
B) through talking directly to me in the class or by appointment (emailing before hand me is a good idea)
C) by reading the notes carefully and studying worked examples
D) by reading another textbook on the same topic (another view can sometimes help clarify a point)
E) through one on one assistance at the MASH centre, where people who are specialists in tutoring in Mathematics will work through problems with you, and
F) through looking at this blog and raising questions with me through the comments box

My general advice about studying mathematics is simple: enjoy the challenge. When you can't solve a problem, don't be annoyed, be challenged. If you are struggling to make sense of a concept, push yourself to come to grips with the problem by any means you can find. Don't settle for rote learning and memory work, be hungry for knowledge. Once again, enjoy the challenge.

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