Monday, May 26, 2014

Alex Completes Linear Algebra / Courses From edX



Song:  Heaven And Hell - Third Movement 

Artist:  Vangelis



Alex just completed his Linear Algebra course...




and he had taken his Final Exam and received a score of 93% for the course.

While his score was acceptable (it is equivalent to an A)...
it also means that he had not fully understood 7% of the material
(the goal should always be 100%).

 Alex had taken this course along with his other school work...
and during his math competitions as well...
so, perhaps it is understandable.

Do not get me wrong...
I am very proud of my son.
He is self motivated in his course work.

However...
 as the old Asian Parent saying goes...
"Getting an 'A' in school...
merely means Acceptable" :)

As this course was on line through edX...
he studied everyday for 30 minutes to 1 hour
(only after he had completed his normal homework and other advanced work).

After his summer UNR course on Probabilities and Statistics...
along with his AP Calculus and AP Biology on line courses from thinkwell learning...
he will be taking a computer science course through edX.



I will also have a particularly challenging research and writing project for him
(the content of which is to be disclosed at a later time).

Summer is the perfect time for us to put his advanced learning into high gear.

The following is one of many University level courses which are on line...
and which are...FREE.

With such courses available for children to advance their knowledge...
you simply must take advantage of the great choice and availability of such opportunities.








The following is the layout of Alex's Linear Algebra course (12 week course).








Alex said he had enjoyed the course.

It had video of the instructor demonstrating the concepts on a white board...
along with some computer graphic demonstrations.

Another positive attribute of this course...
as with the thinkwell learning courses...
after the exams...
it allows the student to find out which problems were missed...
and the option exists to review and relearn the missed concepts
(of course... this will not alter the exam score).


Just to give perspective as to what is available now...
 when I was in college...and even later when I attended university...
there was no public Internet.

The most advanced home learning available was through television.
One of two such TV courses I had taken was...Cosmos
 (the original with Carl Sagan.  
The music attached to this article was the signature song
played throughout the series).

I got credit through a college by taking a course on Cosmos.
I watched the, then, new show on TV, and I had to go to the college
to take exams on it.  I also had to write papers on the content of the show...
which I then had to turn in at the college.

Now days, children may access these online courses...
usually 24/7, so they may complete them at their leisure...
and so, have them fully fitted to their schedule...
and all at their will and command.

And...
I simply must say again...
for FREE.

This is a perfect fit for advanced work for children who attend public school...
as well as for children who are homeschooled...
either full time or as a hybrid mixture of both (as Alex is now).

As a child enters High School
(as Alex will next school year)...
his grades will become an extremely important and permanent record
from which Universities shall determine the fitness of the child...
as a prospective candidate for their institution.

A child is simply not ready for a university if he just takes high school classes.

He must take AP courses...
and university level courses before entering. 

Once he enters University...
it is not so much the content which confounds so many...
it is the rate at which he must absorb the material...
and then must apply in the general as well as the specific.
This is what, so often, makes a child feel lost
(and so the high drop out rate).

By having a child already familiar with the content...
the format...
and the course load...
he will then be able to understand and apply his knowledge
at the rate necessary to not only keep up, but to excel
 in an academically challenging atmosphere.



10 comments:

  1. Great to know of free resources like this. I have been having my son do math work on Khan Academy on weekends (also free), so it is good to know that there are many more resources available when he ready for something more advanced.

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  2. There are so many great resources out there now. A child may learn as much about subjects as the infant Superman had in the capsule ride he had taken to Earth in the movie.

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  3. "While his score was acceptable (it is equivalent to an A)...
    it also means that he had not fully understood 7% of the material
    (the goal should always be 100%)."

    I wonder if this interpretation of a test score is accurate. It might be only me, but I can score a 100% without full comprehension, while I sometimes do understand everything and still get 93% because of some careless mistakes.

    "Once he enters University...
    it is not so much the content which confounds so many...
    it is the rate at which he must absorb the material...
    and then must apply in the general as well as the specific.
    This is what, so often, makes a child feel lost
    (and so the high drop out rate)."

    I don't think this is the main reason why students drop out -- when students know what they really want to do with their lives, and are convinced that college level education is essential for that, they will stick to it no matter what. IMO the reason they "feel lost" is not (only) because they lack the ability to do the required work; they feel lost because they don't know what they're studying for.

    Anyway, I wish the best for Alex!

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  4. As it was a general statement, about my son, and not a general statement about all who take tests, it was valid. Even if it were to apply in the general, anomalies are on the fringe of the bell curve.

    So many drop out because they get overwhelmed. They decided to enter a college because they thought they knew what they had wanted to do. The drop out rate is so high in this country, and the rate of unpreparedness so high, the main reason seems reasonable. A person who knows what he wants to do in his life doesn't suddenly make up his mind when he enters college. He had made it up long before...and so, had prepared himself for it. The key lies in the preparation for college. So many, falsely believe that the workload at their high school is comparable to that of a University. That is where so many get snowed under. They were simply not prepared.

    Besides, I am also relying on the Government's own statistics and conclusions, and by the national averages of the SAT and the ACT...both of which are abysmal.

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    1. I'm sorry if my comment had sounded impudent; it was based on my personal experience and what I have seen among my friends so I may have missed the point all together, but thank you for the response anyway.

      I totally agree with this: "They decided to enter a college because they thought they knew what they had wanted to do." "A person who knows what he wants to do in his life doesn't suddenly make up his mind when he enters college. He had made it up long before..."

      But many student do change their mind after entering college. In some cases, they gradually realize what they really want is different from what they had thought they had wanted. So my question is, do you think there is a way to avoid this kind of "mistake" and to know your calling at age 14 or even younger? In other words, is there some kind of formula we can use to lead an "efficient life" without having to go the long way?

      Sorry this has nothing to do with Alex; I'm just interested in your opinion (and of course I wouldn't mind if it's not based on some objective data)

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    2. No, your reply was fine. I hope you don't think my reply was rude.

      To answer your question, a child is going to go nowhere without drive to succeed. A dream for something strongly desired usually provides the impetus for change or as a goal. However, a child will usually not even look unless he first loves learning. This should be one of the primary goals of parents for their children. Once a child has the curiosity to explore his world, and the constant hunger to understand, all he needs is constant support so that he may do so. The key to anything in life is the quantity of quality. A child simply must develop good daily study habits if he to succeed in anything worthwhile. This way all of his options are wide open. When his horizons are wide open, he will have almost unlimited choices for which to shoot. By exposing a child to potential professions, as demonstrated in a positive fashion in movies or other media, he may start developing his desire to achieve a similar goal. As an example, shortly after the movie 'Top Gun' played in the movies, and for a long time afterwards, there was a huge surge in the number of youth who enlisted for the armed services hoping to become a pilot. A passion was lit, and a dream was born for those youth.

      Say a very young child had seen the movie and had expressed a profound desire to become a pilot. As a parent, I would research the profession, find out the requirements to become one, and I would reverse plan from the profession back to the child, noting all of the educational requirements, especially the ones necessary to be especially strong in (as in math)...and I would ensure my child had plenty of advanced training in those areas.

      By knowing the sustained effort involved beforehand the child would have a path in his mind, along with the objectives along the way, so his dream could then become a plausibility, instead of remaining a pipe dream.

      Before even this, parents need to quantify the child's aptitude. It is not enough to know that he gets good grades, they need to find out where he tops out at...they need to find his ceiling. This will give a realistic picture of
      the layout of his route, and for the necessary rate of growth in order to be competitive enough to even be considered a viable candidate for such a profession.

      The key is to develop a child's love of learning first. Then give him positive exposure to various professions to help him develop a direction in life. Know the aptitude and attitude for use as a measuring device so a realistic view of the timeline needed for him to meet his goals.

      I would show him the steps necessary, as well as the schematic as a whole, so he will have perspective, and I would constantly research ways to ensure he could meet each objective efficiently.

      I hope this answers your question.

      I am glad you had commented. Please feel free to do so at any time.

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    3. Thank you so much for the detailed reply. I will keep it in mind when I become a mother.

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  5. Note:

    A general purpose plea for leniency. :)

    I am sitting in a hotel room rereading my last comment. My punctuation was terribly executed, and I hadn't even finished one of the sentences. While I don't have an excuse, I do have a reason. We are in Las Vegas for the next few days. My son is participating in a math contest. I was sitting in a rest area at UNLV while my son's group was eating. I have nothing but an iPad here. I am typing with one finger, and I was rushing to type in my reply before the group had their first competition of the ARML Nationals. I was rushed, and I wasn't reading what I had written, and again, all while I was pecking furiously away with one finger. I am usually far more diligent in my writing, and with proof reading the results.

    I just don't wish to give the impression that I am a careless buffoon...
    I am usually a careful one. :)

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