Today I’m working on the first-semester calculus course I am teaching this fall. Changes to the course this fall include a new textbook and the use of Khan Academy. I have selected a new textbook from BVT publishing to keep the costs to the students down. I will be using Khan Academy to give the students a self-directed way to review algebra and pre-calculus material. Many students come into calculus unprepared to deal with the algebraic manipulations needed in calculus and lacking in their understanding of functions and function notation. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough time in the semester to address all of the areas in which the students need help, so I hope this will help them to gain the competency they need to be successful.
As I did in the spring semester, I am requiring a significant amount of reading from the students, both of the textbook and of the trade paperback Calculus Diaries by Jennifer Ouelette. This semester, however, I am having students post their reading responses in a Facebook group, so we’ll see how that experiment goes!