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Posts Tagged ‘university’

[#6] – Biology 108 – Introduction To Biological Diversity

August 23, 2011 28 comments

Firstly, I’d like to provide an explanation for my lack of entries as of late.  In order to expel any confusion: I did not abandon this blog haha; I’m still alive; I didn’t win the lottery, and no, I didn’t get abducted by aliens.  The truth is much more mundane: The final exam for my (condensed) summer physics course was a few days ago, and naturally, I’ve been busy studying, and solving countless problem sets in preparation for the test.

For those who are still curious: I received my Physics 102 – Final Course Grade today, and got an A+.  More on this in an upcoming post.

 

The world is full of flora and fauna; most of which we haven't gotten the slightest clue about.

 

Hey, wait!  This post wasn’t supposed to be about physics!  It’s supposed to be about a life science, the one and only, biology!  (My digressions get the best of me sometimes)  Now onto the review: Continue Reading >>

[#4] – Math 113 – Elementary Calculus I

July 19, 2011 5 comments

At this very moment, I am taking an introductory physics course in beautiful British Columbia.  If you’ve been dutifully following my entries (in chronological order of course), the previous sentence should seem rather precarious.  After all, what brings an UofA student from Alberta, to a different university in a different province?! (In true cliffhanger fashion, you’ll have to wait for the answer to this question in an upcoming post)

 

Math is a language that helps us understand both the physcial, and the abstract dimensions of reality.

 

Anyways, you must also be wondering: “what does any of this nonsense have to do with today’s entry on elementary calculus?”  Well, to put it simply, today’s physics lecture dealt with the properties of electric flux.  In order to understand such a concept, one should be, at the very least, acquainted with the fundamentals of calculus.  Without such knowledge, it would be difficult, nigh impossible, to develop a solid comprehension of the subject.  What I’m getting at is: sometimes, even if we don’t like it, math can be used as a language, or stepping stone, for deciphering physical constructs (ie: electric flux). Continue Reading >>

The Merits and Demerits of Grading on a Bell Curve

July 15, 2011 13 comments

This entry will touch upon the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of grading on the infamous ‘Bell Curve‘.  For those of you unfamiliar with either this grading practice, or normal distributions in general, let me briefly elaborate:

Now, for the sake of brevity, I will try to spare you from all of the mathematical gobbledygook and statistical mumbo-jumbo that traditionally comes with these sorts of explanations.

1.  What exactly is a bell curve?

A bell curve, or more specifically, a Gaussian Distribution, is a symmetric curve that is pronounced in the middle, and tapered off at the edges (it really does look like a bell).  As such, the middle portion under the curve contains more area than either of the ends.

 

This is what a typical bell curve looks like.

 

2.  What does “grading on a curve” mean?

When courses are said to be “marked on the curve,” this usually means that a predetermined percentage of students will obtain each grade.  For example, a certain amount of students will receive an A+ (top 4%), a certain amount will receive an A (next 7%), and so on and so forth.  Ultimately, the distribution of grades will fit ‘nicely’ on a bell shaped curve; with the majority of students obtaining marks near the middle portion of the curve (‘B’ range).  Unfortunately, however; this also necessitates the fact that a certain percentage of students will inevitably obtain ‘F’ grades, and fail the course entirely (bottom 6%). Continue Reading >>

[#3] – English 122 – Texts and Contexts

July 12, 2011 2 comments

English, at the University level, is a member of what I like to call: The Terrible Two.  “The Terrible Two,” or TTT for short, consists of two vehemently dreaded courses that many undergraduates are required to take at some point during their academic careers.  TTT is comprised of the aforementioned English, and its diametrically opposed ‘evil’ sibling, Physics.  Today’s post will be directed exclusively towards English … I will have to tackle its uncouth relative on a later date.  Let’s spare no time and get started!

English Class ... whyz its importent ne wayz?

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Preamble:

As I stated in the opening paragraph, for whatever reason, countless students attach a negative stigma to English courses in general.  I have observed that this mindset is adopted very early in life; possibly as early as elementary (primary) school.  Perhaps people don’t like it because they believe it is far too subjective; maybe they’ve had a poor teacher once, or twice, or thrice …  The bottom line, however, is that there are an innumerable amount of reasons for people’s overall disdain for this subject.  With that said, the only thing we can know for certain, is the fact that many students simply do not want to take an English course (but must, because of university policy; prerequisite requirements; etc.) Continue Reading >>

[#2] – Chemistry 101 – Introduction to University Chemistry I

July 5, 2011 4 comments

Today’s post will be centered around my first ever university chemistry course (a.k.a. Chem 101).  In all honesty, Chem 101 was my toughest class in first year (barring Stats 141, which I will talk about at a later date) – I found it very difficult to make the transition from high-school chemistry to university chemistry.  Even to this day, I’m still not completely certain why this was the case; however, I do have a sneaking suspicion of where I went wrong, albeit not a definitive one.

A standard periodic table for a standard chemistry course.

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Preamble:

Chemistry (more specifically, inorganic chem) was always one of my stronger subjects in high-school.  I enjoyed learning about it all throughout my grade-school years, and even managed to obtain my school’s highest mark award for grade 11 chem.  Given this background, it should not be surprising that I was rather disappointed with my relatively poor performance in university chemistry …  The following should shed some light on the reason(s) for my discombobulation in this course! Continue Reading >>

The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

July 1, 2011 4 comments

Although the saying: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” may seem trite and clichéd, I do believe that it is true.  I mean, an activity that comprises one third of our entire lives must have at least some merit to it!  Despite the ever fervent debates in the scientific community about the nature and purpose of sleep, most scientists will agree that humans need it in order to function efficiently and effectively throughout the day (or night for that matter).  Simply put, monophasic sleep is a paramount portion of our natural circadian cycles; something that has been ingrained within our evolutionary history for many millions of years.

 

Our natural biological clocks don't take lightly to attempts at circumvention.

 

You would think that, being the educated bunch that we are, we would know by now that a good night’s sleep is just something too important to pass up on.  This, unfortunately, is not the case.  Many people that I come in contact with, whether it be at school or elsewhere, seem to be lacking a fair amount of shut-eye.  In fact, it’s all too common to find people nodding off in class, on the bus, on a bench, etc.  Granted, the majority of us have very busy lives; busy to the point that we have to constantly put sleep to the wayside in favor of more stimulating activities such as studying, work, etc.  Incidentally, this is when ‘sleep-debt’ multiplies and grows until it becomes too taxing for us to handle.  Hence why we occasionally end up seeking slumber in the most unorthodox of places.  This is merely nature’s way of helping us deal with the inevitable (nature cannot be beaten!) Continue Reading >>