Sometimes you run into eager students who contact you even before the first day of class. They typically say that they intend to hit the ground running. This particular fellow seemed to fit the mold:
Hello Professor Zeno,I replied cheerfully with the information DS requested:
I have enrolled in your calculus class for the summer session. I had a few questions before the course began. I have never been at your school before, so I wanted to ask about how the reading material for the class. Is it possible to purchase the reading material outside of the school? I know school bookstores are a little overpriced, and that I could find a better deal elsewhere. Can you provide me a list of what books we'll need for the course? Also, if you had a syllabus on hand, could I look over it ahead of time? Thank you!
Looking forward to learning from you,
Thanks for your message, DS. I think most of your questions will be answered by the attached pdf of our syllabus. It includes the ISBN of our textbook, which is the only book required for the class.Soon my in-box contained another message from DS:
You're right, of course, about the prices of books in the college bookstore. You can often get a better bargain elsewhere. One possibility is Off-Campus Books, which is right next to the campus. You might be able to find a better price on-line, but at Off-Campus Books you can have the book in your possession immediately.
See you next week.
Thanks for the info Professor. I have one last question. Do you know if there's an abridged version of the book? Also, how different is the new edition from the previous edition? Is it possible to work out of the old edition one?We all know that new editions of textbooks seldom have significant changes. They're mostly designed to purge the used book pipeline. However, the changes are usually sufficient to make it difficult to bridge the gap. I gave DS due warning.
Don't get the old edition. Although the old and new editions are not dramatically different in content, it'll cause you nothing but trouble. The page numbers and exercise numbers are all out of sync. You'd need access to a copy of the current edition to know which exercises you're supposed to do. We're already going to have a very busy time with the course compressed into the abbreviated summer session. Anything that makes it even more complicated should be avoided if at all possible.The first day of class arrived. Surprisingly, several of my students hadn't acquired the textbook yet. They were at a handicap as we promptly plowed through the first two sections of the text. Summer session doesn't dawdle. It wouldn't be a problem for DS, though, would it? Except he didn't respond when his name was called during the roll. Where was DS?
He wasn't there the second day either. But then a new message popped into my in-box:
Hi Professor Zeno,Naturally I was delighted to hear from him:
I am attending my brother's graduation on Thursday and Friday, and will be gone those two days. I will be back for Monday's exam, as listed in the syllabus you sent me. I just wanted to let you know I was going to be gone those two days. I am not asking for dates to make up the homework assignments or quiz, I just wanted to inform you I was going to be away. Is there anything I need to have or bring on the date of the exam besides calculator, and pencil? Thank You,
Thank you for your message, DS. We seem, however, to have a problem. I have yet to see you in class and I dropped you as a no-show. There were students on the waiting list eager to add the class and I signed them up, giving them the spots that had been allocated to students who did not attend class yesterday. It's not reasonable to assume you can miss the entire first week and still be retained on the roster. I'm sorry if you assumed this was the case.DS was contrite and prepared to wiggle a bit:
I understand. If I set aside the graduation, and show up for the class at the end of the first week, is there still room? Or is the class filled to capacity? I was just wondering if it was possible to re-add if there was room. Thanks!I send him one last message:
The class is filled to its capacity, DS. Enjoy your brother's graduation. Better luck next time.