Abbott wins

Recall that I am teaching real analysis next semester, and I asked for help in deciding which textbook to use. I started by considering texts by Abbott, Beardon, Ross, and Trench, but I started considering Strichartz due to Adam Glesser’s comment.

First, I have decided to dive head-first into the inverted/flipped classroom and screencasting pool in the fall. This just seems like it makes sense: the professor should be around the students when they are doing the harder work, not the easier (and more passive) work.

With this in mind, I wanted a textbook that would complement this system well. Here are my thoughts on each:

  1. Strichartz is too expensive. I did not spend much time considering it (sorry, Adam!) because of the price.
  2. Beardon is too technical and too expensive, although I like his attempt at integrating all of the ideas.
  3. Trench is the right price (it would be about $25 to print and bind a copy for a student), but there is too little exposition—t seemed like he basically hopped from theorem to theorem. Since I am going to have my students read the text (in addition to screencasts), I wanted a readable book.
  4. Ross is a reasonable price and reasonably readable, but I do not like his treatment of continuity (he defines it in terms of sequences of points).
  5. Abbott is left standing. It is a reasonable price (though not the cheapest), it is the most readable, and I like his motivating questions. I have heard complaints about the amount of typos, but I can fix this by making this part of my first homework assignment.

So Abbott wins. Thanks for your input.

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9 Responses to “Abbott wins”

  1. Adam Glesser Says:

    I can’t blame you for looking so hard at the price—especially since I’m using books for calculus that are either free or cost less than $20. a copy of Strichartz, though, runs for about $50, which isn’t all that much more than Abbot. When I used it, half the class had the international editions and I can’t believe how much cheaper those are.

  2. bretbenesh Says:

    Hi Adam,

    I must have been looking at the wrong edition/hardcover/something. I will keep this in mind for the future.

    Second, which calculus text do you use? I have found several free ones online, but they all seem deficient in some way. I would love to know about cheap calculus texts—students pay waaaaay too much for textbooks.

    • Adam Glesser Says:

      Hi Bret,

      I keep jumping around because—as you say—they all seem deficient in some way. I’ve used Paul Dawkins online notes, Schaum’s Outline of Calculus, and this semester I’m using David Massey’s Worldwide Calculus. The last one is probably my favorite of three simply because it is a legitimate textbook with exercises and links to videos that cover both the text and the exercises. Next semester, I might try Strang’s book or—time permitting—simply write my own.

      • bretbenesh Says:

        Here is a vote for “write your own.”

        How much do the videos in Massey’s text help?

      • bretbenesh Says:

        Hi Adam,

        I just found out about one more free calculus text that looks like it has a lot of potential: Calculus and Sage by Granville and Joyner.

        Enjoy, and let me know how it is if you use it.

      • Adam Glesser Says:

        Hi Bret,

        Thanks for the link! I am always looking for good ways to bring computers into the classroom in a meaningful way—I was trained to use them as a last resort both in my research and my teaching.

        The videos in Massey covering the main text I find somewhat dull, which is unfortunate since I’ve heard that, in person, David Massey is a fantastic lecturer. For the main material, I send to students to my own website for the videos I made a few years ago. For the exercises, Massey has students present solutions and I’ve mixed reviews from students. Some find them extremely helpful, others feel confused.

        As for writing my own textbook, I think I better write a blog post on that and get some feedback. I have some ideas for a very different structure, but I suspect most of them are half-baked.

      • bretbenesh Says:

        Hi Adam,

        Thanks for the info on Massey. As for computers: Sage is a good place to start if you want to start learning computers for both teaching and research. It works for a broad set of mathematics, its syntax is relatively easy, and it is free. All great qualities.

        And frankly, I think that we need more half-baked ideas in calculus textbooks. I do not need to see more Stewart clones.

  3. Cold Problem Solving « Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] Problem Solving By bretbenesh I am teaching real analysis in the fall, and I am beginning to plan it out. Here is one more idea that I would like to record before I […]

  4. Semester Reflection, Part I « Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] create screencasts on a section of the textbook that we had not covered during the semester (I used Abbott’s textbook, and he has them designated as “project […]

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