Picture showing Rob in an office with a blackboard behind him.

Rob Smedfjeld

Professor, Mathematics

Office: Room 6306

Phone: 510-659-6077


All Spring 2018 course grades have been posted into WebAdvisor.

Don't be afraid to ask for help...

One of the biggest advantages of studying at a community college is that the faculty are very accessible. But that's only true if you actually ask them for help. So, please stop by my office during my office hours, or come see me in the Math Learning Center. Or make an appointment with me at a different time. Or send me an email with your questions. But please don't wait until you're drowning to ask for help. If we get your questions answered earlier, you'll have a much better chance of being successful!

Practice is the key...

I don't collect the homework, but don't mistake that for meaning the homework is not required. And don't mistake understanding what you see in class for actually being able to do the work yourself.

In order for you to be successful in the class, you'll need to verify that you can do the work yourself before you're taking the exam.

Do all of the assigned homework (and more of the ones you struggle with) - and ask for help with anything you don't completely understand, even if you got the right answer. Use the homework as your chance to learn about your mistakes, so that you have a better chance of not making those mistakes on the exams.

If there's a topic you don't like, spend even more time on it!

It's a natural impulse to avoid the things you don't like, but in a subject like math, where topics often build on previous topics, avoiding things can be disasterous. So, instead of avoiding those topics that you don't like, spend extra time on them!

Speaking of things you don't like...

Right at the top of most math students' list of least-liked topics are word problems. But, just because a question is written with words, that doesn't make it hard. Take into account each of the bits of advice above (ask for help, practice, and then do extra practice), and then read some of the comments that other students have had about word problems.