Mentor Community Spotlight: Jarrod Kopczynski

Coursera courses have had an immense amount of impact in my life. I really would look forward to learning from Coursera courses more than other courses.

Our spotlight this week is on Jarrod Kopczynski. Jarrod is a Mentor in Calculus: Single Variable.

Share something about yourself jarrod-kopczynski

I’m currently a freshman at Purdue University (class of 2020) residing in West Lafayette IN, aiming to get a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics as well as Computer Science. I’m originally from Cupertino CA, and I went to elementary, middle, and high school there. I come from a family of 4 and I’m the youngest in my family. My hobbies include things like volunteer work, family games (i.e.: Jenga, Scrabble, Clue, etc.), anything music oriented, etc. Here on Coursera I primarily mentor for mathematics courses, but I’m planning on mentoring for other courses in the near future. As of now, I mentor roughly 3 hours a week here for Dr. Robert Ghrist’s Calculus: Single Variable class.

What was your first Coursera course, how did you find out about it and why did you decide to take it?

My first Coursera course was Calculus One by Dr. Jim Fowler (OSU). At the time, I wanted to get a head start on Calculus, and I wanted to find free Calculus courses at the time that were structured like actual classes. After doing research, I eventually found Jim Fowler’s Calculus One class on Coursera. I hadn’t known about Coursera at the time, but I decided to take it regardless.

I ended up finishing the course, and while I was taking the course, I realized what kind of place Coursera was: free collegiate level classes taught like actual classes, just what I wanted. Ever since then I’ve been using Coursera.

What’s your favorite Coursera course and why?

My favorite course is Calculus: Single Variable by Dr. Robert Ghrist (UPenn) as well as Calculus One by Dr. Jim Fowler (OSU), both for different reasons. The reason I like Dr. Ghrist’s class so much is because it helped expand my knowledge of Calculus using applied mathematics, and it also helped me learn more about engineering. I like Dr. Fowler’s class because it was not only extremely influential, but it’s also what got me a head start in Calculus, and it’s what made me start using Coursera.

What impact have Coursera courses had on your life?

Coursera courses have had an immense amount of impact in my life. In high school, I would at times look forward to learning Coursera classes more than my high school classes. Coursera was a way of expanding knowledge and learning materials that I would otherwise not be able to learn, which is a byproduct of the fact that Coursera has so many unique courses.

Which course do you Mentor? What do you like most about the course?

I mentor for Calculus: Single Variable by Dr. Ghrist. As explained before, what I like about the class is that it expands upon already existing Calculus knowledge and also implements engineering. Not only that, but his Calculus class was without a shadow of a doubt the hardest class that I had ever taken.

I took his class thinking I could expand upon my already existing Calculus knowledge, but if anything I had to start from scratch when I learned his course.

I even asked him about the difficulty of the course in the early stages of the class, and he told me that “AP Calculus classes are fine just to learn the mechanics of differentiation and integration, but they don’t teach the actual applications of it”, and his class helped me learn just that.

What does the Coursera/Mentor community mean to you?

It means the world to me. It feels like I’m part of a select group of people to help students learn, and the fact that it is a collegiate class means even more to me. Furthermore, I feel that being a mentor here on Coursera has molded me and has also helped me develop a greater sense of responsibility.