Calculators, Calculators and MOOCS

Posted on June 9, 2014

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I’m looking atthe questions people are posting at the Udacity MOOC (where “LisaB” is awesomely helping people so I wonder if she’s in a situation like mine at a desk with not much going on right now)… 

… questions seem to fall into two categories:  “WHY DON’T I GET THERIGHT ANSWER???”    without any information about the problem… 

… and problems where the student has used a calculator incorrectly for that problem.   One had a student changing a negative mixed number into an improper fraction … so 4 x -3 was 12 … then s/he added the numerator, which of course really meant subtract so the answer was wrong. 

In another student kept getting “try again!!!”   (and there’s no “after five times we give you the answer” thing here, which I think is a design flaw).   Even after finding out the right answer from somebody, s/he couldn’t understand why the close, close answer was wrong… Welp, s/he’d used “pi” on the calculator instead of 3.14 per Directions Of THe Problem.   

In an attempt to stay slightly distracted from the App of Doom, in which I’m having to plow up hill through briers right now, I’ll go look at the ten most recent questions just for fun…

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