• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

My Quantum I professor wants us to write up our homeworks using Latex.

  • Thread starter ItsLA
  • Start date
  • #1
6
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi
I am taking Quantum I this 2012 fall. The little problem I am having is that my professor wants us to write our homework on Latex. I have no problem with Latex; I love making documents on it.
But the only thing that borders me is that having to write up my homework on Latex, take a great deal of time away from my study time. It is like I have to do my homework twice.

And another thing is that I do not want to lose points for not showing all work. So I include everything on my homework paper on the Latex document.

Now I want to stop writing on paper but directly doing the homework on Latex, instead of writing first on paper and then typing it on Latex. However the problem with this is that it is not natural.
I worry that if I get use to that. On exam, I would have problems doing the exam on paper, which might then be considered a disability.

Any advice?
 
Last edited:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
1,344
32
First of all, I find it very odd that your professor asks you to submit your homework on Latex. I haaven't heard of this happening before!

It takes you time to do your homework on Latex, but that's only for this one course. You don't have to do the same for other courses, do you? And this Quantum I won;t last for more than a month or two, will it? I don't see why this should be a problem, then?

It's a good practice to be comprehensive and show everything on your answer sheet. Some of the undergraduate exam answer papers can be quite ugly and still they happen to receive high marks, but it's a good practice to be neat.

You worry that your working won't be natural if you write on Latex the first time round. You worry that if you get used to it, you will have difficulty solving the problems in a natural way in the exam. I see! I can tell you that you will have solving problems throughout your entire academic life, so there's no way you will forget how to write naturally just because of this one course that will last a few months. Also, I hope you do revise the homework sheets for your exam (sometimes questions from the sheets appear in the exam). That way, during your revision, you will restructure the material in your head and the writing will flow naturally in the exam.

On the whole, your problems are very silly! I'm sure most people on Physicsforums will not consider this a problem at all!
 
  • #3
dextercioby
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
12,985
540
Expecting a student to know how to typset in LaTex is one (good) thing and that knowledge should be encouraged, but asking him to typeset his homework is a bit too much, as the professor already knows that he'd be doing all the calculations with pen and paper and then putting everything into a logical fashion especially for him. It's more than double work...

Discuss the issue with your colleagues and kindly raise it to him, if he's (still) OK in the head, he'd understand where you're coming from.

BTW, loose =/= lose.
 
Last edited:
  • #4
828
2
Really? So if you get accoustomed to tying you can no longer write and this is a disability? Really?

How many people are in the class? The problem is that the professors (ha, I mean a grad student) has to grade 30 (?) papers and everyone has different hand writting; v's look like u's and r's sometimes look like v's and w's look like omegas, and I do three humps for 'm' and two for 'n' and rho's look like r's and integral signs can morph into a number of things, etc.
 
  • #5
1,344
32
Really? So if you get accoustomed to tying you can no longer write and this is a disability? Really?
I guess he meant something different. Obviously, being an adult, he is not going to think that typing will lead to disability, will he?

How many people are in the class? The problem is that the professors (ha, I mean a grad student) has to grade 30 (?) papers and everyone has different hand writting; v's look like u's and r's sometimes look like v's and w's look like omegas, and I do three humps for 'm' and two for 'n' and rho's look like r's and integral signs can morph into a number of things, etc.
Yah, for sure, but that's no justification for making the students hand out the papers in typeset.
 
  • #6
22,097
3,280
I don't really see the problem. When I was in undergrad, I made all homework in LaTeX and we were required to do so. It's a good practice. After a while, you can type in LaTeX really fast.
 
  • #7
I don't have any experience with LaTeX, but it'd probably get really easy, really fast with a little practise, just like using any new software. Maybe you can think of it as a chance to review/check as you go?
 
  • #8
Also, if it was me I'd still want to write answers out before typing in LaTeX no matter how easy LaTeX got. Writing will always seem more natural so you'd be minimising risk of making mistakes as you don't have to simultaneously concentrate on your type-setting.
 
  • #9
6
0
It takes you time to do your homework on Latex, but that's only for this one course. You don't have to do the same for other courses, do you? And this Quantum I won;t last for more than a month or two, will it? I don't see why this should be a problem, then?
Quantum is not the only course I am taking. The time I spend typing on Latex, can be spent trying to understand the course material more.
 
  • #10
6
0
Really? So if you get accoustomed to tying you can no longer write and this is a disability? Really?
When you are doing homework on paper, that is when you pin point where you are likely to make mistakes. This is the time you notice where you are likely to make a sign error, drop constants, or do some calculations error.
And when you notice these mistakes ahead of time, you watch out for them during an exam. Also this is the time you know how fast you have to work during the exam.
However if you do not know about these things ahead of time, you are likely to have hard time finishing the exam. And then you might think you need accommodations or extra time, which you need to apply for disability to get.

How many people are in the class? The problem is that the professors (ha, I mean a grad student) has to grade 30 (?) papers and everyone has different hand writting;
Yes, I understand that the number of students in a class can be a burden for the grader. Yes, neatness can help the grader out. All I am saying is that typing on Latex takes a great deal of time away from my studying time.
 
  • #11
1,291
0
Quantum is not the only course I am taking. The time I spend typing on Latex, can be spent trying to understand the course material more.
And the time you will be using to get acquainted with LaTeX later in your career could be used to tackle your research problem instead. Life is a balance.
 
  • #12
6
0
And the time you will be using to get acquainted with LaTeX later in your career could be used to tackle your research problem instead. Life is a balance.
Yes you are correct. But you have to understand I will not always have the opportunity to ask my professor questions. Questions that require you to have actually studied the course material, before you can be able to ask them.
However I can always get acquainted with LaTex during Winter or Summer break.
 
  • #13
1,291
0
Yes you are correct. But you have to understand I will not always have the opportunity to ask my professor questions. Questions that require you to have actually studied the course material, before you can be able to ask them.
However I can always get acquainted with LaTex during Winter or Summer break.
Okay, well you can always talk to the professor if you feel adamant about his.

How many extra hours do you believe will take you for LaTeX? How many free hours do you have in a week?
 
  • #14
828
2
When you are doing homework on paper, that is when you pin point where you are likely to make mistakes. This is the time you notice where you are likely to make a sign error, drop constants, or do some calculations error.
And when you notice these mistakes ahead of time, you watch out for them during an exam. Also this is the time you know how fast you have to work during the exam.
However if you do not know about these things ahead of time, you are likely to have hard time finishing the exam. And then you might think you need accommodations or extra time, which you need to apply for disability to get.
So, I've been texing my homework for several years and I solve it with pen on paper, then I tex it and, you know what I haven't had a single problem on a test because of this.

Yes, I understand that the number of students in a class can be a burden for the grader. Yes, neatness can help the grader out. All I am saying is that typing on Latex takes a great deal of time away from my studying time.
So does whinning to a bunch of strangers on the Internet.
 
  • #15
6
0
So, I've been texing my homework for several years and I solve it with pen on paper, then I tex it and, you know what I haven't had a single problem on a test because of this.
Yes that is what I am currently doing.
But to save time, since I just started using Latex, I said I would like to be doing the homework straight on LaTex, which I then thought might be a problem for me on exams.
It is a possibility; that is why I brought it up. Everyone does not learn the same way.

So does whinning to a bunch of strangers on the Internet.

I posted a Thread. You asked me a question. I responded to your question. Now you say I am whinnying.
From what you said above shows that you are not here to give me any advise, but to argue with me.
Nothing you have said so far has come close to "Academic guidance"
 
Last edited:
  • #16
6
0
Okay, well you can always talk to the professor if you feel adamant about his.

How many extra hours do you believe will take you for LaTeX? How many free hours do you have in a week?
I really have little to no free time; I am an Electrical Engineering and a Physics major.
But by the grace of God, I will find a way to overcome it.
 
  • #17
jgens
Gold Member
1,580
49
You can always just write your homework in LaTeX straight-away. It takes some getting used to, but you can more or less eliminate the need for pen and paper with a little practice.
 
  • #18
22,097
3,280
I posted a Thread. You asked me a question. I responded to your question. Now you say I am whinnying.
From what you said above shows that you are not here to give me any advise, but to argue with me.
Nothing you have said so far has come close to "Academic guidance"
What kind of academic guidance do you want? If you want advice then the only thing we can say is to make your homework the way your professor wants it. Learning LaTeX is a useful skill and I pretty much agree with your professor. You need to learn how to make nice professional presentations. It's better to learn it sooner than later.

Yes, learning LaTeX takes a bit of time. But you don't expect college to be a cakewalk without much work, do you??
 
  • #19
ZombieFeynman
Gold Member
327
12
Your classes are not only there to teach you the material, they should also be there to teach you skills useful to your trade. Typesetting in latex is a valuable skill and this amount of emphasis will make you superb at it. Being a physicist or engineer is not just puppies and rainbows and solving problems, sometimes its about doing mindless work to make things look well or being able to present things well. When your boss asks you something similar down the line, complaining on the internet wont get the task done.
 
  • #20
103
0
Use it as an opportunity to review the problem and think through it again as you are typing it up. I've always rewritten my final answer once I solve the problem. This lets me work on the problem the first time through without worrying about the neatness. When I copy it down neatly so that I can turn it in, I'm able to double check my work, and I've actually found small errors many times doing this. If you are decent with Latex, it shouldn't take much longer than neatly writing it by hand.

I'd hope that the length of time it takes to type the solution in Latex is much much smaller than the time it takes to actually solve the problem, so I don't see an issue here.
 
  • #21
Mute
Homework Helper
1,388
10
There is Lyx, a wysiwyg LaTeX editor which would help in performing your work in LaTeX, as you can see everything in symbols without having to repeatedly compile the document.

Unfortunately, the main LyX site is down right now (at least when I try to get to it), so you might have to track down a mirror if it doesn't come back up soon.
 
  • #22
525
16
There is Lyx, a wysiwyg LaTeX editor which would help in performing your work in LaTeX, as you can see everything in symbols without having to repeatedly compile the document.

Unfortunately, the main LyX site is down right now (at least when I try to get to it), so you might have to track down a mirror if it doesn't come back up soon.
This is a good option. I've also found that just having the pdf open on one half of your screen and your latex editor open on the other half works well. You do have to recompile frequently, but I've carried out a few derivations quite efficiently in this way. I personally prefer it to wysiwyg options like Lyx, but you should try both to see what works well.

The main thing is, don't try to understand what you've written by just staring at your Latex code. I doubt there are very many people who can do this effectively for anything remotely complicated.

Another thing: use the computer to your advantage. Don't just blindly type everything out. Usually when you derive something, each expression in the derivation is the same as it was in the previous step, but with a few changes. So in Latex, you can copy+paste your previous expression, make your change(s) to get the current expression, and then repeat until you're done. That can speed things up a lot. Also remember to make use of macros for segments of code that you're using frequently.

With some practice, I think you'll find that you'll be able to do math at a reasonable speed on a computer, and occasionally even faster than you would be able to on paper. Even if you still prefer using a pen and paper, being able to do math on a computer is certainly a useful skill. Take the restrictions of your course as an opportunity to improve upon that skill.
 
  • #23
239
5
My professor does not require homework to be in latex. However, I wanted to acquire this skill sooner rather than later so I started to turn in my homework typed up using latex. I do my homework first and then type it up. As others have said, it gives a chance to review your work as well as to practice organizing work in a logical, coherent pattern. As well, my professor was impressed that I was turning in my homework typed up and said it is a welcome change from the mess that most people turn in. I am in support for what your professor is asking. It may be a pain now, but it will likely pay off in a greater way in the long run.
 
  • #24
1,291
0
I really have little to no free time.
Well I can see why it is an issue then.
 

Related Threads on My Quantum I professor wants us to write up our homeworks using Latex.

Replies
11
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
599
Replies
11
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
Replies
0
Views
1K
Replies
9
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
5
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
1K
Top