Math department recalculates numbers for courses

Michelle Ma

Almost all math department courses will have different course numbers for Fall Quarter, a move that will group similar courses together for easier identification and registration for students.

Sixty-four 100- through 300-level courses received new numbers. Starting Monday, students will register for courses under the new numbering system.

“Over the years, we’ve been forced to shoehorn new and changed courses into an increasingly narrow range of numbers in an attempt to indicate course relationships,” said Prof. Michael Stein in an e-mail. “The resulting hodge-podge did not cue students very well about the interrelationships of our courses, nor did it leave any room for rational change in the future.”

No new undergraduate math courses will be offered in the fall, Stein said. The content of courses won’t change along with the new numbers or titles either.

The new numbering system sets aside a block of numbers for particular subjects, such as algebra courses in the 330-339 block, Stein said. The department also assigned the more basic courses lower numbers.

To keep related courses in the same number block, some numbers are “reused” from the last numbering system, Stein said.

Because changes won’t take effect until Fall Quarter, Summer Session math courses will still have the current numbering system and names, said University Registrar Suzanne Anderson. It is rare for a department to change so many course numbers, she said.

“(Changes are) not usually quite this extensive,” Anderson said. Notifying students of the changes before registration starts is important, she said.

To minimize confusion, math classes are listed by their new numbers on both the printed schedule of classes and the online class schedule with a note indicating their old numbers, she said. An e-mail will also notify students of the changes, and the math department Web site has a posting of the new course names and numbers next to the previous listings for easy reference.

Anderson said no students have expressed confusion to the Registrar’s Office about the changes.

Eric Cannon, a Weinberg sophomore and math major said picking courses for next fall was a little more confusing than usual.

“I was really surprised when I first saw (the changes),” Cannon said. “It took a little longer to pick courses than it usually does.” He said that after looking at the number changes displayed online, the adjustments add more clarification.

“The similar classes are grouped together better now,” Cannon said. “They seemed a little more random with the older system.”

Stein, who advises students in the math department, said he was surprised that many students were already referring to courses by their new numbers.

Reach Michelle Ma at [email protected]