Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Studying up

The aspects of academia that I readily identify with are not the politics of it all, but rather the roles of teacher and student. I've been working on both of those lately. In preparation for the coming term, I've been working on my schedule of assignments and order of topics for the courses I'll be teaching. While I previously mentioned a first draft of one of the courses, I've since modified it a bit. I decided for a variety of reasons not to be quite so creative, at least during this first term back as a teacher. I've decided to pretty much stick to the text, rather than expecting several sessions for special lectures. Another reason for this decision is simply not to make more work for myself than is necessary. This isn't entirely laziness. I'm motivated in part because going back to the classroom after a seven-year hiatus brings with it a need for testing the waters a bit more safely than I had imagined.

With my other hat, as student, I've been going through one of my wife's calculus texts, and a text on C++ programming, as well as a volume directly relevant to applied research field and yet another (which I've mentioned before) on patents. Today, I decided it best for me to start defining the algorithms for the proofs-of-concept that I'm working on. It's fun to get into the nitty gritty, to tease out all the various subtleties, varieties, and ramifications of the problems.

The hard part is defining the problem, and the necessary steps for solving it. Once that's done, I can make a decision as to whether I will simply acquire all the necessary skills to do it myself or hire someone to translate my algorithm into a program capable of handling all the calculations.

Funny, it's been so long since I did any programming. It's been forever since I've studied higher math. I like learning. I like the challenge of it all.

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