# Introduction To Mathematical Thinking: And, Or, & Not

Well well, I am now on week two of:  Introduction To Mathematical Thinking, a free and open course offered online via Coursera.org, which is taught by Dr. Keith Devlin of Stanford University.

The course is geared to teach you how to think mathematically, and more to the point, I think what is meant by that is how to problem solve and communicate with precision, excluding ambiguity from your processes and statements. Which makes sense, in math the answer is either wrong or right, true or false, so communicating in a precise manner would be essential to correctness.

So far, I have understood parts of the assignments and quizzes, and failed miserably at other parts. Example, never before have I seen the symbols for And, Or, & Not in mathematics:

Screenshot of Assignment 2, of the Stanford online course Mathematical Thinking.

As you can see from these math problems, the symbols are a capital V for “Or”, and an inverted or upside down capital ^ for “And” and a negative sign with a hook on the end, which means “Not”. Also new to me were the symbols for Phi, and Psi:

The Greek letters Phi and Psi.

I believe we are simply using these Greek letters as variables, but I am honestly not 100% sure of this, which in hindsight is a question I should of asked by now on the Discussion Forum. After all, peer review and group study is the core concept of this online course, or MOOC, which seems to be the new buzzword for these types of classes offered online to masses of people around the world.

I need to do more “dirty work” and get down to writing out the problems and figuring them out repeatedly. This first week I did not devote enough time to actually doing the material myself, which I am humbled to report has manifested itself in my first test score on Problem Set 1, in which I scored a total of 10 out of 21 correct, and was then deducted 2 points for completing the test a day late.

So, I dismal score of 8/21 on the first test. This convinced me to pay more attention to the lectures, spend more time on the forums and Facebook study groups, and most importantly, I need to actually do the problems multiple times and practice the new concepts for I have clearly failed to firmly grasp them this first week.

Now, I never made it to Pre-Calculus in high school, so I am not well versed in mathematics anyways, especially since this is the first math course I have taken in 8 years, but it is supposed to be a transitional course from high school mathematics to university mathematics.

Clearly, this is a course I need if I am to accomplish my goal of becoming capable of high level mathematics and I am grateful to Coursera.org, Stanford, and Dr. Devlin and his team for the opportunity to take this course and to learn as much as possible from it.

Whether or not I receive a passing grade is inconsequential to me, for learning the material is all that matters and which is the most important to me, though, a certificate of completion from Stanford University would put a smile on my face, for sure.

I am still progressing in my other areas of self-improvement, and I will try to update everyone on those soon, I just have been so busy with all this work and courses and life, that I have admittedly been neglecting this blog.

Take care, and remember, it is never too late to learn something new, never.

# Tomorrow I Start Mathematical Thinking by Dr. Keith Devlin, Stanford (Coursera)

Hello there!
Been really busy with all the areas of study and I have another part-time job now on top of that, so I’ve been neglecting this blog but that should change soon as I begin posting more often for anyone who is interested.

Tomorrow I start an online course offered by Stanford professor Dr. Keith Devlin, it’s called Introduction to Mathematical Thinking and is offered via Coursera.org. It is a transitional course that teaches you how to go from high school math to college math. You can read about it here, as it was featured today in a story on USA Today:

http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/ccp/professors-rethink-teaching-methods

There are currently over 50,000 people registered for the course! Awesome!

# So Much To Do, So Little Time!!!

Hey everyone!

Well I am currently on Unit three of the Castilian Spanish language course from Rosetta Stone and progressing decently, at least in my opinion! I have also started Japanese, and am still early on in the first unit of Japanese language pack. Wow, what a difference! Spanish and English have a few similarities, but Japanese is from a whole another planet! It’s fun though, especially because it is so amazingly different from what I’ve been used to my whole life.

I am currently up to Algebra, Geometry and a few other things on Khan Academy.

Right now for the programming languages I am focusing on C, Python, and Java. But I am also working PHP, JavaScript, and a couple others in when I have time.

My first online course that I am actually registered for, begins in approx 15 days. It is a Greek and Roman Mythology course offered online by The University of Pennsylvania. I also start a Mathematical Thinking course soon, offered by Prof. Devlin of Stanford University.

I am of course still working on CS50 Fall 2011, and am registered for the online class CS50x, starting on October 15th, offered by edX.org and Prof. David J Malan.

Look for more updates soon and I will try to be more detailed next time, I just don’t have much time today.

Have a good one!

# Been Really Busy The Last Couple Weeks

Trying to cram as much info into my brain as possible.

Hello!
I’m still around, jut been really busy the last couple weeks and haven’t got around to posting but I am going to try to post more often. I’ve been working on math, programming, I started taking literature courses from the open Yale site (American classic novels/Hemingway,Faulkner,Fitzgerald/Spanish 300- Don Quixote), and then I am still learning Castilian Spanish. I am currently on Unit 2, Lesson 2 and seem to be progressing a decent pace so far.

For programming, I am alternating days between the different languages I’m learning from CS50, Udacity, and YouTube. The languages I’m focusing on right now are C, Python, JavaScript, PHP, and then some Ruby and Java.
I have to go now, but I will try to post more often and will make an attempt to make my future posts more interesting to read ;)

Take care!

# Learning Castilian Spanish

Thought I would throw up a short update on my foray into learning Spanish (Castilian). It’s been a little over a week since I started learning Spanish with Rosetta Stone and StudySpanish.com. I have progressed so far to Unit 4 of Lesson 1, or level 1 I’m not sure which, but it’s definitely Unit 4! I’m still really confused about the many conjugations of some words and when/where to use them, but that understanding will come with time. I also have watched Pan’s Labyrinth a couple times as it’s the only spoken Spanish (Spain!) DVD I own at the moment (also turned Spanish captions on which helps when hearing it spoken so fast). As I close this post I will rattle off some of the phrases I know and understand (just an example and by no means my entire vocabulary so far):

La mujer come arroz.

La luna es blanca.

El gato negro no duerme.

Las ninas corren.

Hola! Que hace?

Anyways, I know probably around 50+ words so far or maybe even more than that. Many different forms of the same word is the biggest obstacle I’ve encountered so far. Oh, and trying to say the double “R”… ‘rr’ that is trilled or rolled is a hard noise to make without it sounding obnoxious and spit flying haha.

# Learn Programming from Free Online Video Tutorials

Today I thought I would share with you one of my favorite resources for learning how to program, free and online of course. Derek Banas used to work in advertising, for Apple doing research and development, as well as a stock broker for Morgan Stanley. However, now by day he is a marketing consultant and in his free time he creates amazing video tutorials on programming and other topics (completely free of charge for humanity to enjoy and improve off of!). I love his tutorials and more people should know about New Think Tank. Here is a list of some of the programming languages he covers in his video tutorials:

• PHP
• Python
• Java
• JavaScript and jQuery
• HTML and CSS
• Objective C
• XML
• AJAX
• and many more topics!

His YouTube playlist of programming video tutorials (+more): http://www.youtube.com/user/derekbanas/videos?view=1

Enjoy!

# There Are 10 Types of People In This World…

… those who understand binary, and those who don’t! Today I thought I would share a video link with everyone that explains how binary works. If you don’t know, binary is how computers know what to do. At some level, everything the computer does is because of the binary base-2 number system. One and zero, on and off, true and false. This is because electricity is either flowing or it isn’t, so base-2 math of binary is logical and an essential part of computer science. Check out this fun video by Sal Khan of Khan Academy as he explains how binary mathematics works: