Guide to FOM Blogging

The single most important thing you will do in this course is keep a blog.  Past FOM students almost universally agree that your blog/journal will be the hardest, most frustrating, and most vital part of this course.  If you keep a thorough, up-to-date, organized blog it will serve as an incredible resource for you when you study for the midterm, while you’re completing the take-home final, and when you are taking later math courses.  Here are some guidelines to help you make your blog as useful as possible.

Your blog should include various types of entries, which you may want to have clearly marked (possibly even color coded).  Some suggested categories include the following:

Reading Notes.  While you read the sections, you will take note of the important definitions and theorems.  Copying these into your journal isn’t a waste of time – it will help you remember these things.

Reflections. The book periodically asks you to stop and reflect on some topic or question.  When you do, take a moment to write down your thoughts.

Homework: I will frequently assign homework questions.  These should be completed in your blog before you come to class; since typing mathematics can be time consuming (especially as you are learning to type it) you can discuss summaries of your problems and solutions in your blog posts.  If you struggle on a problem, write what you can and leave space to fill it in later.  During class we will typically take time to go over the homework, giving you a chance to fill in your gaps.

Classwork: We will frequently break up into groups in class to work on problems that I will put on the board.  Your blog should include the work that you do in groups as well as notes from any class discussions we might have.

Be sure to title your blog entries so that they make sense to you, the TA, and myself.  For instance, one post might look like this:

          5 Sept.p. 51   I’m not sure if this is right, but I think that the truth set of

\{x \in \mathbb{N} : |D(x)| \text{ is odd } \}

includes all the odd perfect squares.  This is because my hairdresser told me…

Your blog entires will be evaluated periodically (and somewhat randomly!) throughout the semester, so be sure to keep them current.

Frequency.  You should have a well-written, thoughtful, and multifaceted entry for each class period (more or less).  I hope “well-written” and “thoughtful” are clear, but if they are not, ask me for more information.  By “multi-faceted” I mean your post should discuss more than one of the four “types” or “categories” described above.  I understand and expect that some posts will be brief while others will be more fleshed out.

I also want to point out that the frequency requirements described above are a minimum.  Longer, more frequent and complex posts are encouraged!


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