Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Surviving 20.109 Particularly the Abstract and Data Summary

I'm not usually one to go to office hours. I find that I either don't really have important questions that I can't look up in the textbook, or other people usually chain link their questions and I never get to ask my questions. However, I strongly suggest going to office hours even if you think you understand everything. You should ask if what you thought was correct. I analyzed my data for the Mod 1 Abstract and Data Summary and went to office hours and asked questions to make sure my understanding of the graphs were correct and of course it wasn't. What I learned completely changed the conclusion of my entire paper.

Also I am one of many people who if I don't see the solution, I can't start working on a problem. I am trying to get in the habit of starting work in hopes that the solution will appear along the way. In some cases it is important to have everything planned out before you start, but when you are looking at your paper the day before it's due and you only have two paragraphs out of the ten pages, it's important to just start writing. It's much easier and faster to write something and then come back to it later to fix it than it is to try to get it perfect the first time. I spent several hours over the course of multiple days just staring at my topic sentences trying to figure out what to do next. Eventually I decided to just start writing. Once you start writing it usually becomes easier to continue.

Back to the topic of office hours. I, like some others, when I get stuck find it difficult to skip that portion and come back to it later. Working during office hours gives you the opportunity to ask about whatever you are stuck on and get a quick answer and immediately continue. So attending office hours just to work on your assignment isn't a bad idea even if you don't have any questions at the time. If you are working outside of office hours then you can just email one of the faculty members and get a quick reply. While you wait for a reply, you will need to force yourself to skip that section and come back to it, which is great if you know how to do that. I haven't yet mastered that art.

Besides the fact that you will probably learn a lot more, and be more productive, the course faculty are pretty awesome and are usually alright with you going in to just chat. And they won't yell at you if it's the day before your assignment is due and you haven't started yet.

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