The following are a collection of recent student comments, either from course evaluations or throughout individual assignments.
Thank you for making math fun for me for the first time ever!
The biggest impact this class had on me was the realization that no matter how hard something is, it can still be fun...[Dr. Sawyer's] pace and confidence when teaching had been the most effective any teacher has taught me ever, since he didn’t over explain, and lingered on the topics he knew we wouldn’t get right away...I have never been in such a talkative math class too, most people had no problem asking questions, and didn’t fear judgement. I haven’t made as many friends in possibly any other individual class as this one too.
I wasn't sure what I expected from this class, but it didn't live up to them. And that is for the better. I think the point at which I really started to enjoy the class for what it was was when we did our work with mobius strips. When I had my mind struggling to find the answer and I felt interest instead of stress. And what's that? They're used in conveyor belts? Is that a real-world application that isn't as rare as a blue moon? Why, yes it is!
When I started with this course, I was scared....there was always a right or wrong [answer] and no in-between. But this class was so different. It was ALL about the in-between, understand the how's and the why's and that made all the difference.
I enjoy the techniques you use. The use of the pen tablet allows the class to move in a quick manner and notes are very thorough. Your desire to make connections between content and students, students to students, and students to teacher is demonstrated well and creates a comfortable environment.
I think Professor Sawyer does a profound job at giving the students the ability to ask questions and gain clarity on anything that may be foggy.
When you said you were known as a hard teacher, I thought "oh great, I'm going to fail this class." But I actually really enjoy being in your class...You make sure everything is explained thoroughly and you go back over things if someone needs help with it. Overall I think your teaching style is one of my favorites.
This course helped me learn about myself because it taught me that it is okay to be confused and ask for clarification, it taught me to not be afraid to answer something incorrectly because attempting it was half of the battle itself and it taught me to not take things so seriously sometimes...It felt like you as a professor took the time to get to know each one of us even just a little bit and then it helped in the learning aspect of the course because everyone was comfortable and respected
I have never had a professor that shows that they genuinely want us to succeed in the real world, and not just their class as much as you do. I feel as if your classroom is a safe and comfortable space to learn in, and I am no longer ashamed for being confused or asking questions in front of the class.
I also appreciated that no question was considered a dumb question, and your patience really contributed to making the course tolerable. It’s also what helped me to want to learn more because it encouraged doing so...Your patience and encouragement empower students to want to learn more, and it’s something I’ve valued and admired in both of your courses.
Thank you for showing me the fun sides of math rather than just equations and numbers. Also, thank you for providing a smooth transition regarding the circumstances of switching to remote learning, I was able to reach you easily by email and get prompt responses.
The way you set up this class was phenomenal! It wasn't exactly an easy class but it was a class based on the discussion. In reality, it kind of felt like us the student were guiding where the class was going because of how open and comfortable everyone felt.
Because of the Pandemic the update the course was really well thought out in a way that let students stay engaged, while still allowing wiggle room and academic understanding for the students who may be struggling. As a student who struggled with the transition, this really helped me. Thank you for being really committed to checking in on everyone. It made me feel really good that it felt like you cared and wanted to listen. I’ve never had a professor in the last 4 years who was so committed to student success. In the face of Covid 19, many professors seemed more checked out. (I don't blame them, because as a student, I felt checked out). But, you stayed on top of it from the beginning. The transition to working from home can't be easy, and it says a lot about you that you were able to stay focused and adaptable.
The [Real Life Mathematician] project at the end of the course was a great way to tie everything together and bring us back to the concept of why we should care about math in the first place. I now see the world of mathematics as a supportive, creative, and unique community as opposed to a separate planet filled with impossible equations and mad scientists. You are one of those professors that will come to mind when someone asks me, "Who changed your college experience?"
It is almost the end of the semester and looking back to when I completed my automathography, I can say I have a different perspective on mathematics. This course was not easy, but I am glad. This course challenged me and made me think outside of the black and white thinking I have had in the past.