Introduction To Mathematical Thinking: And, Or, & Not

mathematical thinking

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:

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.

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So Much To Do, So Little Time!!!

cute asian girl

 

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

cropped photo of Brainiac

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!

Hello world! Zero 2 Hero is born!

Photo by GiantTristan of Nikonians.org

Photo by GiantTristan of Nikonians.org

To put it simply: this blog is just a ‘journal’ for me to document and keep track of my progress in my goal to change my life. I spent most of my life so far (I turned 30 a few months ago) just existing, and being content to simply exist. I spent most of my twenties spinning my wheels, not getting anywhere, and not doing anything MORE to change it. Without getting too personal on here, I can say that I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself and a handful of other factors helped contribute to my lack of development over my life to date. I went to art school right out of high school and got an AA degree in 2004. I spent about 6 months going on interviews, with companies such as Mackie instruments and Pop! web design, and didn’t land any jobs after the interviews. So, I went to work for myself. I spent the next six years finding many ways to fail as an entrepreneur (internet marketing, eBay/Amazon businesses, article marketing (even tried ‘Bum Marketing’ once haha), selling other peoples digital products via Clickbank, affiliate marketing, creating and selling private label rights products, web designer and developer, graphic designer, and so on) and spent the last couple years unemployed and in debt. I currently live in a low-income government subsidized apartment and survive on food stamps.

My biggest issues I know have been those of a mental and emotional variety and that started to change not long after my 30th birthday. It itself was actually a very depressing event as I reflected on just how pathetic and pointless my life had become and then that “something” happened. The only way I can describe it is that a “spark” happened inside myself and ignited a fire, a thirst to be more than I am, to be better than I am. A desire for knowledge that I never had before has taken me over. And the most amazing thing occurred to me that I never truly believed before now: I can, I CAN be and do ANYTHING I want… if I work hard and dedicate myself to that goal or undertaking.

And that is what I have decided to do, to go back to college eventually if I can figure out how to pay for it or in the mean time be an independent learner and educate myself if I have to. My ultimate educational goal for now is to attend the University of Washington and get into the Computer Science and Engineering program as I want to become a professional in the industries of the internet/web and mobile. I also plan to take some business courses to learn how to run and operate a business successfully as trying to invent the way myself didn’t work (and I admittedly lacked the drive, motivation and dedication to make it work before).

So to end this first post I want to say that I also want to help others find free education and try to help them improve their lives as I am trying to do to mine. My journey is just beginning and like an iceberg protruding from the sea my potential has yet to be revealed. I am finally ready to step up and am not afraid to succeed.

I realized that if I and anyone reading this just dedicate yourself to something, you will achieve everything you want to.

It’s simple.