On September 3, 2012 Udacity is proud to release Joern Laviscach’s new course Making Math Matter: Differential Equations in Action, as well as Andreas Zeller’s Software Debugging: Automating Boring Tasks (more information on this class to come). In Making Math Matter, you will examine real world problems, like how to rescue the Apollo 13 astronauts, stop the spread of epidemics and fight forest fires using differential equations.

Loviscach, as both a researcher and a professor, is interested in applying digital media to education — he has published 1,800 video lectures on mathematics and computer science on his YouTube channel, and he is known as the Salman Khan of Germany.

When asked why he wanted to teach a course at Udacity, Joern answered, “Given that German students love my style of diagramatical, common-sense reasoning, rather than strict proofs, I’d love to hear what international students think about it.” He also hopes to share with the world what it means to learn in context: “Hopefully, I can convince many people plagued by math anxiety that math tends to be presented in a far more complex way than it needs to be. Also, that math makes sense after all, and isn’t just a collection of funny notations and hard-to-memorize facts.

Teaching his students to apply mathematics in order to solve real world problems means a lot to Laviscach. As he mentions, there is a difference between being taught math and really learning math, “In this class I want students to get a gut feeling for mathematical models. I want to demonstrate that there is a kind of mathematics that can actually be applied in engineering — believe it or not! Regrettably, this is not necessarily the math you learn, or should I say, the math you are taught but do not learn in a regular university course.”

In this class, you can expect to think outside the box. You’ll develop an intuition for the use of differential equations in the applied sciences, as well as how to build mathematical models for systems of differential equations. Along the way, you’ll also learn to translate mathematical expressions into Python code in order to solve some tough problems. As such, it is a good idea to come in with a basic understanding of a typical programming language and it will be good to know how to solve quadratic equations. If you are unfamiliar with these topics, Loviscach suggests taking Udacity’s Intro to Physics class first. He also notes, “You can get astonishingly far with just basic arithmetic — if you have a good understanding of what you are doing. In this course we’re not solving a single integral and we only compute one derivative the way it’s done in school.”

Learn from Joern Loviscach and Assistant Instructor Miriam Swords Kalk this September in Making Math Matter! Enroll today!

I'm so glad Udacity has taken the next step and offered a deeper math course. 5 days to go, can't wait!