- #1

bacte2013

- 398

- 47

I am a college sophomore in US with major in mathematics and an aspiring algebraist. I wrote this email because I am having a great problem with my current Calculus III (vector calculus) course that I am taking for this Summer Semester. All of my fellow classmates and I are having some majors problems with the course, which make me (and other classmates) to argue whether I should drop this course and take history (for social science requirement) course for this Summer.

Here are the major problems: my professor seems to be the major issue. The Calculus III course is a computational-level course (designed for STEM majors) but the professors has been lecturing from the theoretical viewpoints, even including the materials from manifold analysis and topology (he actually recommended Rudin's PMA and Spivak's Calculus on Manifolds as a nice reference(!), but majority of students are not familiar with the proofs and Calculus III does not expect any proof-writing skills from students), and he is not even interested in doing the example, computational problems during the lectures and discussions. Furthermore, he has been jumping around a lot and does not even follow the syllabus, which makes the reading before the lectures impossible. For example, he covered the partial derivative on one day and proceed to the linear transformation and topology on the next day, followed by the partial differential operators and limit proofs on the next day...very out of order from the syllabus. The required text for the course is "Schaum's Advanced Calculus", where the homework problems are derived from. The homework problems are computational problems but we never learned the techniques and problem-solving skills to tackle them...All of us, even TA's, are lost and cannot follow the professor. I tried to resolve the issue by purchasing Marsdcen/Tromba's "Vector Calculus" and Hubbard/Hubbard's "Vector Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Forms", but I am still lost since my professor keeps jumping around and does not go in linear order as syllabus...I know it is very pathetic to blame the professor, but all of us are having same problem with the professor...My professor has been teaching the topology and Calculus I, and it is his first time to teach Calculus III. Several of my friends who took Calculus I with that professor told me that his exams are very difficult and also contain topics not covered on the lectures...Currently, over the half of total students dropped the course...

I do not know what to do...this Calculus III course is a pre-requisite for the theoretical linear algebra course at my university, which is a foundation course before the analysis, algebra, topology, and other mathematical courses. However, I heard from my fellow math majors that the advisers are usually allow the students to take both Calculus III and theoretical linear algebra together. Should I drop my current Calculus III course and take it with the linear algebra course during the Fall? Or should I keep continuing with the course and try all my best?

Please give me some advice!

PK