Principles of Learning
S302, General and Speech Acoustics

1. Practice a lot. Acoustics is a branch of physics, which is part of applied mathematics. There is no substitute for practice to learn mathematical skills. Interactive software, homeworks, in class quizzes, and tests all offer learning experiences and practice.

2. Learn concepts, do not memorize details. Understanding the underlying concepts in physics is hard work, especially if details of formulas have to be memorized. Therefore, students are permitted to prepare one page of handwritten notes for their tests that organize the formulas, constants and examples in a way useful to them. Since memorization is not part of the evaluation process, tests require students to tap into underlying concepts to answer the questions.

3. Receive frequent feedback in order to build on successful learning. Questestions for understanding and quizzes are given early daily with immediate feedback. Answers to homeworks etc. are provided as soon as possible after being turned in. They are provided in written form so that small, but critical, details of the mathematics are not incorrectly written down by the student.

4. Get help. The professor and assistant instructor for this course have office hours to give one-on-one help with the mathematics and all assignments. The professor also encourages and expects students to come to office hours with any problems. It is anticipated that students have very different backgrounds in mathematics and physics. The extra help available outside of class time is intended to address the problem of varied backgrounds.

5. Explore acoustics. Acoustics is the important basic science that links speech production to hearing science and speech perception. Acoustics is the science of sound - and without sound neither speech nor hearing processes can be the ordinary basis of human communication. Many links will be noted on our website that have interesting information relevant to this class. The hope is that by exploring the learning opportunities in this class, students will find this knowledge enjoyable and relevant to their educational goals in speech and hearing sciences.

D. Kewley-Port
Last updated: 08/26/07