Office Hours

Canvas Chat

Office hours will be primarily online in the Canvas Chat. What this means is that you will be able to contact me, as well as communicate both with other members of the class, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. It also means that I can answer questions publicly in a space that the entire class can see. I go to bed late and get up early, and I’m almost near a computer or my phone, so chances are that I’ll get to your questions pretty fast.

I’ve used online office hours for class communication for a few years now, and get at least twenty times more questions and interactions with students than when people were trying to catch me during a restricted set of in-person office hours. My goal is to be able to answer your questions and help give you hints to get you un-stuck when you are stuck, as efficiently as possible.

If you need to see me in person, you can do that too; just start by contacting me by email or in person and we can set up a time to meet. Or just stop by my office anytime 🙂

Best practices for asking math questions in Canvas Chat

Follow these guidelines to get your questions answered as quickly as possible:

  • If you’re asking about a problem from the book then mention the section and number of the problem.
  • Also, take a picture of the problem and/or of your work on the problem with your phone and include it with your message. That way I can reply to your message when I see it, not many hours later when I finally get to a place where I have a copy of the book.
  • Try to describe where you got stuck on the problem. “How do you do #12” is much less likely to get a quick answer than something descriptive like “I tried #12 (picture of problem) and got stuck on the differentiation step (photo of your work). Why isn’t this factoring step working out?”
  • Feel free to answer each other’s questions and discuss! I’ll answer when I’m around, but it’s even better if you can try to help each other out.

What if you want to meet in person?

If you’re looking for a way work on homework and ask questions when you get stuck or want to check your work, then the most efficient and productive method is to use Slack or the Math and Science Learning Center.  However, if you have a situation that can’t be handled over Slack, or just want to talk in person, then you can catch me after class any day or make an appointment to meet me in my office some another time. Just contact me by email or in class and we will set up a time to talk about whatever you like.

UPDATE FOR ONLINE LEARNING: See the new weekly course pages and Canvas for updates about online class meetings and methods for contacting Dr. Taalman and the SMLC.