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Just asking out of curiosity

  1. Jan 16, 2008 #1
    On average , would most of you work on homework problems by yourselves(be it, mechanics, linear algebra, abstract algebra , or calculus , or any other technical subject) , or do most of you worked together on homework problems. Do any of you find it impossible to work on homework problems by yourself, or do any of you feel distracted working with more students on one problem.

    I personally don't have a problem working by myself on homework problems; when test time comes, you can't use study groups, so why bother studying with someone on the homework.
     
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  3. Jan 16, 2008 #2
    I like doing the homework myself, all the way through, and then discussing it in a group to have the extra eyes (I'm not much of a proofreader), to cement what I've learned by teaching it to students who don't quite get it yet, and to see different approaches. If someone did it better than me, I want to know how!
     
  4. Jan 17, 2008 #3
    Its good to do a much as possible by yourself, then when you get stuck or finish it, go over it with a group of people. That way you can get a grasp of what you actually know so for tests you know what to study most. But more importantly, by going over your solutions with others you will see other ways of solving the same problem, maybe you will find a much shorter way which then in general, if it is still valid, will be the easiest way to do the problem. Knowing the best way to do certain problems will help you on tests by letting you have the most time. Your initial solution might be fine but if it takes oyu twice as long as the solution a friend shows you, then you are at a disadvantage on the test.
     
  5. Jan 17, 2008 #4
    it's stupid, pointless and eventually a futile exercise to study in a group.
     
  6. Jan 17, 2008 #5
    Peer learning has been shown to be one of the most successful ways to learn. Not only is the person being tutored learning, but teaching is one of the best ways to learn and make sure you truly understand something.
     
  7. Jan 17, 2008 #6
    I personally find that by working alone I can get more work done then by working with other people because of the simple fact that when I do a simple step like completing the square I do it in my head and if I am working with someone else I have to explain to them what I did.
     
  8. Jan 17, 2008 #7
    I almost always study in a group. In grad school it's pretty much required, since loners tend to have a very difficult time.
     
  9. Jan 17, 2008 #8

    malawi_glenn

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    I have most 2 other guys with me when I study. Just so we can ask each other questions etc. Also the other 2 must be among the best in the class.
     
  10. Jan 17, 2008 #9

    mathwonk

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    Interestingly, is has been proved that on average, studying in groups raises performance and grades enormously. Uri Treisman, spent a year at Berkeley trying to discover why some students who were exceptional in high school were failing out of freshman calculus in droves.

    He filmed the study sessions of different groups and found that those who studied together had big advantages. They would correct each others mistakes and save great deals of time that way.

    True, sometimes one mistake would mislead the whole group, but soon it was found and correectd by everyone.

    It was also important to focus on studying the material in depth, i.e. working on hard problems, and spending sufficient time.

    In particular, minority students from disadvantaged high schools who had developed the method of studying alone presumably to overcome the non academic culture of their surroundings were especially at risk in college, where the material was simply too hard and too voluminous to master alone.

    Treisman devised a program that forced members to study together regularly and intensively, and focus on the hard problems in the course. His results are spectacular.

    The students in his program, including large numbers of minorities, soon transformed themselves into the best students in calculus at Berkeley. He extended the program throughout the curriculum and he began single handedly producing most of the minority mathematics PhD's in the entire country.

    He is extremely well known for this work, and continues it today, i believe in Texas.

    I once read his entire published study, and we reproduced the program at Georgia for a while, but there was not sufficient student interest to make it permanent.

    I.e. many students were not willing to devote extra time to a course just to do better in it, they wanted more credit hours for it as well. It also requires significant faculty commitment. But the method works.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  11. Jan 17, 2008 #10

    mathwonk

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    I often studied with another student in college and grad school, and enjoy doing research collaboratively.

    The speed of progress when discussing mathematics with another person is for me much better than when doing it alone.

    Of course you have to spend some time alone, often a lot, but then you also benefit from discussing what you have come up with.
     
  12. Jan 17, 2008 #11

    mathwonk

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  13. Jan 17, 2008 #12
    We are told to work alone since you need to be capable of working independently because other people are not going to be able to help you on exams.
     
  14. Jan 17, 2008 #13
    Studying in groups misses on satisfaction of solving a hard problem. If you draw partial answers from various people in the group, then stitch them together how fun can that be?

    I never liked study groups, always found that it turned into a discussion about cars, or a girl someone was dating.
     
  15. Jan 17, 2008 #14

    malawi_glenn

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    So what do you need a teacher for? =D
     
  16. Jan 17, 2008 #15
    It's weird with my professors. They encourage working alone, since then you're sure to get the full benefit, i.e. you came up with all the answers yourself, so obviously you know what's going on, but when I talked to my professor about having a bad grade in his class, he recommended working in a group.

    So really, it's "what works best for you". I work kind of slow, so if 2 or more people are working on the same problem, they tend to go faster, and I end up not understanding what just happened.
     
  17. Jan 17, 2008 #16
    Do homework by yourself, reviews it with your peers for different views and takes on problems and how to solve them.
     
  18. Jan 17, 2008 #17
    Work with peers that are approximately at your same skill level and you will learn a tremendous amount in a fraction of the time. If you feel your group plowed through difficult problems far faster than you would have on your own, and you feel that there is something to be learned from independent study of the said difficult problems, then search out similar problems by yourself. There is never a shortage of difficult material to digest on any one topic.
     
  19. Jan 17, 2008 #18
    This teacher reminds me of Jaime escalante. Do you have a link to the study?
     
  20. Jan 17, 2008 #19

    mathwonk

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    i had a hard copy. but ill look for one.
     
  21. Jan 17, 2008 #20
    I personally like doing problems by myself first, i like to give a lot of effort when i try to do something, but sometimes it is not worth to spend a lot of time trying to solve or understand a problem when someone else could easily explain it to you, of course it is better if you find it out on your own, but it is a matter of time. On the other hand, working in groups has also its advantages, like many times i personally have skipped some problems that i thought were obvious, without actually fully understanding them. SO when you work in groups someone might ask a rather "stupid" question but that draws you back to some minor things which are rather crucial in understnding the material, or a problem in particular. But i also encourage to first do problems, homework or whatever that is on your own, and just after that have someone else to discuss what you have already learned with.
     
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