Sage Workshop Day, First Run

Originally Posted 01-12-2012

Today’s big task was to design, produce and run a one hour workshop to introduce my students to Sage.

I started my day with meetings with research students. In each one we made a skeleton semester plan with some specific goal to meet. But by 1pm I had my office to myself, and only the big Sage event at 7pm to worry me.

Taking some advice from Mike May (who I saw briefly in Boston for the Joint Meetings), I decided to prepare for the least technologically inclined student. Cause even though they have smart phones, they are not all really that savvy about technology. So, the first thing I made was a short document with color screenshots about how to make an account on the Sage server. If you’d like to see it, it is here.

Then I made a short Beginner’s Guide Sage worksheet and published it so the students can find it. You are welcome to check out how that came together. I have already made a few small additions based on questions I received tonight.

One big disappointment was that only six people came: three linear algbra students, two dynamics students and one faculty colleague. This is out of the 45 students from those two classes and my 25 fellow math department members. I can blame it partly on the sudden bit of nasty weather (Iowa finally remembered that it is January) and partly on student procrastination: you see, I told them up front there would be two instances of the workshop, one today and one on Tuesday… The computer lab only has 24 machines in it, so we’re gonna have to double up on Tuesday.

Now that all of that is done, it is time to plan for tomorrow. I am still covered for Dynamics and Math in Decision Making by the problems I wrote two weeks ago. But Linear algebra is not yet under control. So I am off to write some interacts that will help me lead discussions on the ways that lines in the plane or planes in space can intersect, and some problems about multiplying matrices and about solving equations. It is gonna be a full day! Eventually, I have to make a new homework assignment or two in WeBWorK, but I can’t possibly get to that tonight. While I have Sage open, I should probably write a code snippet for constructing orbits that students can modify for their own use.

Alas! Back to Work!