Editor’s note: Professor Jim Fowler from the Ohio State University is teaching Calculus One. If you have never seen calculus before (but always wanted to) and have taken algebra at a high school level, this course is for you. We asked Professor Fowler to tell us a little more about his course and himself. You can sign-up for his January 7th courses here.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
A:I’ve got a two year old, so I’m preparing to have the difficult conversation where I reveal that squares are, despite appearances, rectangles.
Q: What course are you teaching?
I’m teaching Calculus One.
Q: What kinds students should be interested in your course?
A:If you’ve never seen calculus before but you know some high school
algebra, you should enroll right now.
Calculus is beautiful, but it is also super useful. Numbers come up all
the time, and calculus strengthens our intuition for those numbers.
What’s the square root of 1,000,001? Why’s it almost 1000? And why is
it so close to 1000.0005? Is that just an accident?
Q: What’s an example of something really cool students will learn?
A:You’ll learn how to balance a semicircle on the top of a pin—with
Q: What excites you most about MOOCs?
A:Teaching, like community theater, is ephemeral. I have great stories
about the courses I took as a student, but they’re just that: stories
Contrast that with movies: I don’t simply tell stories about my
experiences watching movies—I try to convince my friends to watch the
movies I like. MOOCs promise to do the same with education: instead of
sharing stories about great courses, we can invite people to have the
experience for themselves. Everybody gets to join in!