SECOND EDITION
HOW TO SUCCEED IN COLLEGE MATHEMATICS
A COMPREHENSIVE STUDY AND REFERENCE BOOK
FOR STUDENTS AND INSTRUCTORS
SECOND EDITION
HOW TO SUCCEED IN COLLEGE MATHEMATICS
A COMPREHENSIVE STUDY AND REFERENCE BOOK
FOR STUDENTS AND INSTRUCTORS
Audiences for the Second Edition of How to Succeed in College Mathematics, and the Assignment Manual for the Second Edition
The book and assignment manual are not packaged together since some students and instructors may only want to use the book as a reference; hence, they have the option of purchasing the assignment manual.
College lower division mathematics is taken by diverse groups of students, and taught by diverse types of instructors, each of which is a potential audience for the book, and perhaps the assignment manual. Included among them are the following:
•Concentrators in the STEM disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The assignment manual is most useful to have with the book if these students meet to discuss the exercises in the assignment manual. Students can take the initiative to meet informally for this purpose, but the best scenario is when formal structures are created by college departments that foster these regular meetings. These structures can take many forms, including courses, workshops, or seminars.
•College mathematics instructors. Although the book is addressed to students, the book and assignment manual are just as valuable for instructors, since teaching and learning are two sides of a coin. How relevant it would be if college mathematics instructors—whether beginners or not, and especially those who have had no formal training in the theory of learning and the science of teaching—met to discuss the book and selected exercises from the assignment manual, in a seminar setting. The book will also help these instructors become more effective advisors.
The book, and perhaps also the assignment manual, makes an appropriate welcoming gift for new mathematics instructors.
•College instructors of STEM courses other than mathematics. These instructors deal with mathematics in the STEM courses they teach. They will have students who are not as prepared in mathematics as they need to be; hence, they need to know how they can help them, which includes recommending this book. Beyond that, most of these instructors learned mathematics from a student standpoint versus an instructor standpoint. In this book they have a resource to consult when they teach mathematics-related content, which is written from an instructor standpoint.
•Graduate teaching assistants in mathematics. Most new graduate teaching assistants in mathematics, who work with college mathematics students, have little, if any, formal academic training in teaching. The same can be said about their teaching or mentoring experience. Thus, they will find the book helpful in their work. Furthermore, many graduate teaching assistants may pursue teaching careers, which is another reason why the book will be helpful to them.
In many institutions, graduate teaching assistants in mathematics are under the guidance of a mathematics department member, and they discuss their work as assistants in a seminar setting. How practical it would be for them, as part of their ongoing training, to discuss selected exercises from the assignment manual.
•Preservice secondary mathematics instructors. These students can benefit enormously from both the book and assignment manual. The book would most likely not serve as the textbook for a secondary methods course in mathematics, but could serve as an unrivaled supplementary textbook. There are many things preservice teachers need to know that are in the book and not readily available elsewhere.
The author taught a secondary methods course in mathematics for 30 years, and states, “I would have thought I had died and gone to heaven if these companion pieces were available to me as an instructor of that course or as a student in the course.”
He also has been known to say, somewhat lightheartedly, “In retrospect, if this book were available to me when I began my five-year doctoral program in mathematics education, I would have thought long and hard on whether this would have been more than an adequate substitute for the non-mathematics courses in the program.”
•Students in a summer college boot camp. Many parts of the book, as well as the assignment manual, are appropriate for incoming college freshmen to read and discuss in a “Summer College Boot Camp.” These parts can be easily selected since the chapters stand alone. Other parts of the book will be more meaningful to these students when they are in a regular college term. Many questions and concerns will surface in their first year or two of college, some dealing with being a college student and others with being a college mathematics student. At those times they will be motivated to go to the book for help.
Other Audiences
•Upper-level high school students in college-preparatory mathematics. Junior and senior students in college-preparatory mathematics can benefit from the book by learning what they need to do to succeed in college, and in college mathematics. They begin to do this by using many of the suggestions given in their high school mathematics courses.
•Inservice secondary mathematics teachers. These instructors are teaching or may teach college-preparatory mathematics, and a lot of what is said in the book about succeeding in college mathematics also applies to succeeding in high school mathematics. Beyond that, these instructors need to advise their students about what to expect in college, and in college mathematics.
The assignment manual is most valuable to these teachers if they meet with each other to discuss exercises in it. These discussions will prompt them to reflect on the pros and cons of what they did as students, the behaviors exhibited by their instructors, what they currently do as instructors, and so on. There is little doubt that most exercises will make for germane and lively discussions. The ultimate beneficiaries of these discussions are their students.
•College and high school counselors and other academic support personnel. The book serves as a reference for college counselors and academic support and learning center personnel. The students they often see are those stressed out over difficulties they are having in a college mathematics course. These college staff members can recommend the book to these students, as well as address specific sections of the book with students, individually or collectively in workshops on learning.
High school guidance counselors need to be aware of the content of How to Succeed in College Mathematics so they can recommend the book to college-preparatory students they counsel.