Mathematics Teaching Seminars
Mathematics Teaching seminars are about innovations and projects that are underway in teaching maths and stats at UQ. Each fortnight we will meet and talk about some hot issue, and hear from people that are trying new things out. We hope to generate some good ideas, new collaborations and teaching grant proposals, and an all round good feeling about maths teaching at UQ. Everyone is most welcome to come and contribute, from tutors in their first semester of teaching/tutoring to our wonderful Professors! 5 top reasons why you should come
- UQ Maths prides itself on the quality of its teaching—we can only improve this.
- Get some new ides to energise your current teaching and see what others are doing.
- Find out what to write in the "Scholarship of Teaching" box on your annual appraisal (maybe you can write I went to the maths teaching seminars)
- Find collaborators and ideas for a teaching grant proposal
- It has been known that cakes, scones, and other nice things mysteriously appear afterwards in the maths tea room.
Upcoming Seminars
Past Seminars
First year mathematics courses at UQ service more than 45 different programs. Many students are dramatically underprepared for tertiary mathematics. Each year several hundred students fail a first year maths course, with many repeating the course multiple times. In the first part of the talk, Poh will describe various forms of support for students in three large first year mathematics courses. The support is delivered within the course and incorporates both online and face-to face interactions. A key consideration is the provision of just-in-time help while deploying a range of approaches to reach the diverse student body.
In the second part of the talk, Sam will discuss a new support initiative implemented in Semester 1, 2017. Sam conducted a series of seven workshops for students commencing their first university-level mathematics course. These were intended as a review of high-school mathematics for students who lacked crucial components of understanding. Topics covered were: Fractions and Factorisation, Powers and Logs, Trigonometry, Derivatives, Integrals, Vectors, and Matrices. The classes were taught from a workbook, with content drawn from areas identified as problematic in previous student cohorts. Sessions were held throughout semester, scheduled so that struggling students could revise high-school level material just before encountering related work in the course. The sessions were highly interactive, with much of the time spent on discussion of illustrative examples. Results from pre and post-tests showed a marked improvement in performance.
A few weeks ago Peter Ellerton presented a seminar on critical thinking. He is returning to give an introductory session on how we can put the theory into practice, using some examples of assessment from PHYS1002. The presentation is in the context of the broader project of articulating the thinking that we wish students to be doing and designing learning experiences that identify and enact those processes.
Unidoodle is a classroom response app which allows students to quickly submit sketch-style answers via their iOS or Android device to questions asked by their teacher in class. Audience response systems traditionally allow students to only answer multiple-choice questions. Students either phone a number to submit their answer or click a button on a clicker. While Unidoodle does have the multiple-choice option, the key difference is that students can submit answers in a range of formats. In this talk I will discuss how Unidoodle has been used in two large first-year mathematics courses at The University of Queensland, providing rich, immediate information on students’ mathematical understanding. Please download the app onto your device beforehand from http://www.unidoodle.com/
NOTE: This talk will be broadcast on the AMSI ACE network.
Critical thinking is the cheshire cat of educational curricula, appearing everywhere half formed but disappearing on close inspection. What is it, where is it and how is it taught to students? One way of thinking about this problem is to focus on the relationship between three key components:
cognitive skills, affective dispositions and the values of inquiry.
Cognitive skills are the things we do with knowledge, such as infer, categorise, analyse, synthesis and so on. Affective dispositions are those things that are typical of critical thinkers, such as willingness to inquire, open to new ideas, self reflection, etc. The values of inquiry are those things applied during the process of inquiry, such as precision, clarity, plausibility, coherence and the like. Accepting this leads to certain pedagogical imperatives, principles that can be applied in any situation to guide the development and implementation of our assessment and learning experiences.
Delicious treats will be provided! All welcome!
A key element of active learning in the classroom is removing the "knowledge transfer" part of lectures, and with the extra time, getting the students to participate in "sense-making" activities. However, in order for this to be successful, the students must come to class prepared.
This talk will discuss what it is that we want our students to do before coming to class, the difficulties they have with doing what we ask, and how to help them prepare in the most effective manner. I will also demonstrate the use of Semant, a tool that has been developed at UQ to help efficiently mark and gather information from pre-lecture reading quizzes. Various versions have been in use in physics classes for a number of years, and it is now used in first year engineering (ENGG1050) and maths (MATH1061).
Active learning is a term used to describe a range of teaching practices that encourage students to think during class rather than listen passively. The benefits of active learning approaches in science and mathematics courses have been well-studied, see [1] for a recent survey. At The University of Queensland we have recently implemented active learning techniques in MATH1061, our first-year discrete mathematics course. This course has an enrolment of approximately 400 students each semester, including students in Information Technology, Software Engineering, and Mathematics.
The variant of active learning that we have implemented is based on ideas from The Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative and ideas that have been used in the teaching of undergraduate physics at UQ for several years. Prior to class, the students are required to watch one or two short videos that cover the core concepts of the next class, recommended to read some pages of the textbook to see some additional examples of applications of those concepts, and required to complete a short quiz on those concepts. The quiz includes a feedback question that prompts students to identify any ideas they would like to have discussed in class. Then in class, the lecturer addresses any problems that the students raised in the quiz feedback question, and students work through problems and use an in-class response system to answer multiple-choice questions.
In this talk, I will discuss how this active learning technique was implemented in Semester 2, 2016 and discuss achievement data and feedback from students.
[1] S. Freeman, S.L. Eddy, M. McDonough, M.K. Smith, N. Okoroafor, H. Jordt, M.P. Wenderoth,
Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 111 no. 23, 8410-8415.
Unidoodle is a classroom response app which allows students to quickly submit sketch-style answers via their iOS or Android device to questions asked by their teacher in class. Features include freehand drawing and multiple choice questions. Come along to see Unidoodle in action! (Please download the app onto your device beforehand.) http://www.unidoodle.com/
Rachel has been teaching mathematics in a variety of secondary schools for the past 20+ years. As this year’s Raybould Tutorial Fellow she has been teaching MATH1040, MATH1050 and sitting in other courses including MATH1051 and SCIE1000. In this seminar Rachel will talk about her time here at UQ, including expectations, observations and things to think about. Come along to this very informative talk.
Due to the School Lunch a short time after the seminar delicious treats will not be provided.
All welcome!
The Islands provide an open-ended virtual environment that has been used to facilitate student research projects in a statistics curriculum. A new version of this world was launched in 2015, featuring a major overhaul of both the interface and the underlying simulation, and in 2016 we have collaborated on a new research methodology course for Therapies students in which an Islands project formed a core part of the assessment. In this seminar we’ll give an overview of the new Islands and some of the innovative ways it is being used in teaching and learning.
We have developed a set of online interactive resources for first and second year university students. An important goal of our approach is to provide students with tools to accelerate their understanding of concepts using interactive graphical applications that both provide a big-picture understanding of concepts and connect with the type of calculations and that they need to perform in exams and assignments. We will demonstrate and discuss the apps we have developed.
MATH1051 (Calculus and Linear Algebra I) is the first university level mathematics course at UQ and is compulsory in engineering and mathematics programmes. The course has a high failure rate of 30%. Key reasons for failure are weak prerequisite mathematical skills and the difficult transition from high school mathematics to university mathematics. Beyond the “mathematical” reasons for failure, the emotional effects are far reaching. A combination of low confidence, poor motivation and feelings of helplessness can result in a self-perpetuating cycle of failure. The MATH1051 Support Learning Tutorial (SLT) is an intervention programme which addresses the reasons for failure in MATH1051. By providing targeted, timely and sustained support which fosters hard work, perseverance, discipline, and builds confidence, the SLT has helped students overcome learning deficits, improve their mathematical skills and attain high achievement levels. Since the implementation of the programme in Semester 2, 2012, 384 students have attended the SLT. Of these, 260 are considered at-risk (175 repeat students and 85 students who obtained a low pass in MATH1050, UQ’s equivalent of high school Maths C). SLT students have consistently outperformed the cohort both in pass rates and quality of performance. In particular, repeat students who attended the SLT performed considerably better than unsupported repeat students. This talk follows two earlier presentations (in 2012 and 2014) and reports on the progress of the SLT since its implementation in 2012.
TBA
UNSW Canberra is a unique Australian higher education institution in that it attracts undergraduates from all states and territories roughly in proportion to their relative populations. Considering the first semester, first year results at UNSW Canberra therefore allows an analysis to be performed as to how well each state or territory education system prepares students for university study.
Analysis of results obtained in the first semester, first year mathematics course undertaken by engineers at UNSW Canberra shows that there is very strong statistical evidence that the average results for students from different states and territories are not all the same. Come along to find out how Queensland students went.
As well as results for first year mathematics, analysis will also be presented of results in other first year courses.
Delicious treats will be provided.
All welcome!
Mathematics was one of the first disciplines in Science to implement hurdles in final exams. A minimum 40% final exam hurdle is now policy across the Faculty of Science. In Semester 1, 2013 two variations of this policy were introduced, in MATH1040 and MATH1050. After four semesters it is time to discuss what, if any, effects these hurdles have had on student knowledge, success in subsequent courses, and of course, failure rates.
From 1972-1995 first-year students used to do the Leo Howard Test at the beginning of semester. In 2007, diagnostic testing was reintroduced, then in 2009 the test went online, with all engineering students attempting 20 mathematics questions before starting first semester. This has proven very successful in providing both staff and students up-to-date information on students' mathematical understanding. It has also provided students with important information to assist in appropriate course selection.
Part of the Bachelor of Science review has involved discussions about diagnostic testing of all first-year BSc students. This seminar will be the first step for mathematics staff to discuss what should be asked in a diagnostic test for mathematics students.
Delicious treats will be provided.
All welcome!
As part of preparing for the upcoming BSc review, we have been asked for a 1-page document reviewing the mathematics major. In particular, to respond to the following three questions:
· Have there been any changes to the content or structure of the major, or significant introductions of new courses, in the last 3 years? If so, please describe briefly.
· Honestly, how well do you think the major is meeting the goals of graduating students with appropriate learning outcomes? Is the “horizontal/vertical integration” within the major appropriate? What are the strengths and any weaknesses of the major?
· What changes do you think should be introduced to the major, and when? Are there any factors that are inhibiting this, including the broader structure of the BSc?
As you all know, there was a change to the mathematics major at the start of 2012, as we introduced several compulsory courses (MATH2001, MATH2400 and MATH3401) and discontinued the capstone course MATH3500. The students who commenced in 2012 are now nearing the end of their second year and we will examine the effect that the compulsory courses are having on their course choices and progression. At a recent workshop on compulsory courses in the BSc, the idea of having more compulsory courses for all BSc students was discussed, and we will touch on this as well.
In June the Teaching Practices in Undergraduate Mathematics forum was held at Melbourne University. Workshops included topics such as flipped lectures and tutorials, online resources, assessment and support.
Come along to hear about these ideas and more!
Delicious treats will be provided!
In the past semester we ran MATH2001 for the first time. The course is compulsory for mathematics majors, and some of the more mathematically intensive engineering courses. I will discuss the material taught in 12 extra contact classes; what worked and what did not. The material covered has small implications for MATH2100, MATH3403, MATH3402, MATH3102, MATH3201, MATH2301 as well as probability and statistics courses. I will also consider the efficient teaching of the course, timing issues. potential overloading problems, and propose some changes to the content in light of the experience of the teaching team.
MATH2001 material taught alongside MATH2000:
Classes
2 Differential equation. Examples of uniqueness, Abel’s theorem, Linear independence and the Wronskian
3.5 Inner products, least squares, orthogonality, projection theorem and change of (orthonormal) basis
2.5 Arbitrary change of variables in two and three dimensional integration
2 Sketched proofs of Green’s Theorem, the divergence and Stokes Theorem (for simple curves/surfaces)
1 Multidimensional Taylor series. No error term.
1 Maxima and minima of function via eigenvalues of the Hessian matrix, Jacobian matrix of a variable transformation and intuition of the inverse function theorem
Should more students be doing Maths C at high school? Do we want to teach more students in first-year who have done Maths C at school? If so, how can we encourage students to choose Maths C?
In this seminar I will present enrolment numbers in Maths C over the past 20+ years, as well as data collected from 1000 students across Queensland on the reasons why they chose/didn't choose Maths C in Grades 11 and 12. This seminar is part of a two-year longitudinal study involving 1000 students, 60 high school mathematics teachers and 20 university mathematicians.
Through a Faculty of Science T&L grant, the practicals in MATH1051 are being updated for Semester 1 with the introduction of online learning modules. These modules are designed to introduce students to Matlab and the fundamentals of programming relevant to students in mathematics and cognate disciplines. This talk will outline motivations for the project and provide a demonstration of the modules.
Delicious treats will accompany the discussion!
All welcome!
In November 2012 the state education ministers signed off on the four new Year 11-12 mathematics subjects that form part of the new Australian Curriculum. However, it is now up to each state to determine how and when the new subjects will be implemented. This includes deciding on the content of each course.
Whilst there is some overlap in what is currently in the Queensland Maths B and C subjects, there is a sizable chunk of maths in the new Specialist subject that is not currently taught in Maths C. As a result, the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) late last year called for feedback on the content of the new subjects. In addition, last month the federal education minister announced a review into the entire Australian curriculum. Feedback closes February 28. The terms of reference can be found at http://www.studentsfirst.gov.au/review-australian-curriculum
This seminar will prompt discussion about what should be included in the new subjects.
Delicious treats will accompany the discussion!
All welcome!
The mathematics support program is a weekly tutorial program aimed at assisting first-year engineering students considered to be at risk of failing MATH1051 (first-year calculus and linear algebra). Just over 120 students have benefited from the program since it first ran in Semester 2, 2012. The seminar will provide an overview of the program and report on the results of the program.
Delicious treats will accompany the discussion!
All welcome!
In late 2012 a group of Science academics ran a two-day professional development workshop for high school teachers. This year Maths and Physics have been invited to participate. The workshop will be held on 4-5 December, with Maths running two sessions. They have been loosely called
Mathematics I - maths in action: applying Maths B and C concepts to real-life contexts |
Mathematics II - maths in the sciences: quantitative analysis and interpretation of scientific data |
In the seminar Gwen and Jack will give us a brief intro on the workshop, including the feedback from last year that is relevant to maths. This will give us ideas on what we want to do in our two sessions.
The event website is up and running (http://www.scmb.uq.edu.au/uqpd-2013-159374) and we have already received many EOIs! The event has been promoted through QAMT and STAQ but feel free to pass the link on to any of your contacts.
Delicious treats will be provided!
All welcome!
Mathematical integration is a fundamental skill that all students will be required to use at various stages and levels throughout their undergraduate and professional lives. Entry competency tests show that students are not retaining, or perhaps did not understand fully, secondary school knowledge of the concept. Results from interviews with UQ maths academics indicate that a significant number of lecturers think students’ integration ability and understanding is poor. Therefore, as integration is required for many courses across all years and disciplines of the degree program, it is important that this deficit be addressed.
In order to reduce the knowledge expectation gap and to prompt students to revise relevant integration topics, integration competency tests have been designed as part of a joint EAIT-Science T&L grant. These tests can be used for both formative and summative purposes, allowing staff to tailor their courses appropriately. This seminar will introduce the 21 tests made so far and show staff how to incorporate them into their courses.
First Year in Maths (FYiMaths) is an Office of Learning and Teaching funded project involving the University of Melbourne, University of Adelaide, Curtin University and University of Sydney. The project aims to build leadership capacity of first-year mathematics program and subject coordinators through workshops, online resources, mentoring and the development of a vibrant network of academics.
The project will identify characteristics of a national first-year culture, best practices in managing first year programs (including mathematics support mechanisms). It will articulate the roles of first-year coordinators and educators, including expectations, responsibilities, and the capabilities required to effectively lead and manage complex programs of mathematical study within the diversities of degree programs including engineering, science and commerce. A major part of the project is building engagement with academics through workshops, presentations, a website and interviews. The workshops and presentations will provide an opportunity for networking and sharing of ideas and clarify the key issues needing to be addressed.
Dr Deb King (Director of First Year Studies, Dept of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne) will provide an overview of the project and lead a discussion on the challenges of managing first year mathematics programs.
Delicious treats will accompany the discussion!
All welcome!
The mathematics support program is a trial learning program targeted at engineering students in MATH1051 (first-year calculus/linear algebra) identified as having a high risk of failing the subject. Findings from an earlier project suggest specific problems faced by this group. By establishing direct contact with these students, and addressing the particular needs of the group, the project aims to increase pass and retention rates.
The seminar will discuss the results of the program which ran for the first time in Semester 2, 2012.
Delicious treats will accompany the discussion!
All welcome!
Come along to a presentation of McGraw-Hill’s mathematics digital solutions developed to support teaching and learning and improve student performance. The two products we will be presenting include ALEKS and Connect.
This semester some new activities were introduced into MATH1050. These activities involved applying mathematical concepts learned in the course to real world problems. The activities were:
1. Calculating Blood Alcohol Content (application of functions and derivatives)
2. Calculating the likelihood of head injuries in car crashes (application of area under a curve)
3. Approximating curves in the plane using a Bernstein polynomial (application of vectors)
4. Developing a sustainable tree harvesting policy (application of matrices)
5. Modelling the onset of the human form of mad cow disease (application of arithmetic and geometric sequences).
Each activity involved some pre-reading and then 50 minutes of discussion and problem solving undertaken in groups of 3 - 4 students during the contact class. Five of these activities were run during the semester and they were compulsory (worth 2% each). In this seminar we will discuss the activities, the reasoning behind introducing these activities, what worked well and what didn't work as well, and feedback from the students.
There are substantial and ongoing concerns in the Australian and international tertiary education sectors about students’ transition from secondary to tertiary mathematics. Declining enrolments in university mathematics and increasing failure rates in first year are often attributed to falling participation in advanced mathematics in secondary school and less stringent university entry requirements, which have adversely affected students' mathematical preparedness for university study.
Researchers have studied this transition from a range of perspectives; however, most of the projects have been at a single point in time. No studies appear to have investigated the transition by following students from secondary school through to university. My doctoral study aims to fill this gap. This longitudinal project will investigate student perspectives on the transition from secondary to tertiary mathematics by following students from Year 11 mathematics through to the end of first-year university mathematics. In addition, I will investigate teachers' (in both systems) views on the transition in order to better understand this challenging time for both students and teachers.
MyMathLabGlobal is an online course that covers mathematics for students at university. Since 2001, MyMathLab Global has helped over 5 million students succeed at more than 2,000 universities and higher education institutions worldwide. MyMathLab Global engages students in active learning—it’s modular, self-paced, accessible anywhere with internet access and adaptable to each student’s learning style.
Key feature:
Students can practice and revise using practice questions with algorithmic values
- Students take a test and are given an individualised study plan
- Students receive immediate feedback on practice questions
Delicious treats will accompany the discussion.
The Australian Mathematical Sciences Learning and Teaching Network (AMSLaTNet) is an ALTC-funded (DEEWR-OLT supported) discipline learning and teaching network. Led by a number of mathematical sciences teaching and learning leaders, AMSLaTNet seeks to provide continued opportunities for the recognition and dissemination of educational best practice in the discipline. The Australian Mathematical Sciences Learning and Teaching Network website can be found at www.amslat.edu.au.
Dann will introduce the Network then lead a discussion on thoughts on "threshold learning outcomes" in maths and science.
Delicious treats will accompany the discussion!
All welcome!
Come along to hear about this year's first year engineering cohort.
International Education Services Ltd (IES) is a Brisbane-based, not-for-profit organisation that provides educational products and services specifically for the international education sector. IES commenced in 1997 with the principal function to manage and operate the University of Queensland Foundation Year (UQFY).
UQFY has become one of the most respected foundation programs in Australia and currently enrols more than 550 international students annually, of which more than 85% will continue on to study undergraduate programs at UQ. More than 3,000 undergraduate students have entered UQ through UQFY since the program commenced.
Quite a number of IES students enrol in first-year mathematics courses. Seng Chong teaches mathematics at IES and has been teaching Chemistry and Maths since 1988 in Singapore and Queensland. He has taught in the Foundation Year program since 2001 and completed his Master's Degree at The University of Queensland.
Delicious treats will accompany the discussion!
All welcome!
A method of assessment is presented which has both teaching elements and student-motivated elements. The evidence for its success is primarily anecdotal. Furthermore it is drawn from cases where the class size is just 30 to 40 students. An example of a hiccup is also given.
ACARA recently released the latest versions of the four senior mathematics subjects that will be introduced around the country in a few years' time. There have been considerable changes to Version 1 (released last year). Come along to hear the latest news.
Diagnostic tests have been performed on first-year students in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Questions covered both junior (Years 1-10) and senior (Years 11-12) mathematics content, and involved purely mathematical calculations as well as worded real-life problems. There were also physics, chemistry and thermodynamics questions. What did the results show this year? Are the results consistent over the years? What have we done as a result? What changes have we made to our courses and resources? Where to from now?
Title: The hidden experience: mathematics in the undergraduate science curriculum
Abstract
Many students are entering university science programs with weaker quantitative skills and a very limited understanding of the interdisciplinary connections between science and mathematics. Despite widespread agreement that such skills are essential for graduate competence and preparedness, universities are struggling to adapt existing science teaching and learning practices accordingly.
My research explores this broader issue, via a multi-phase mixed methods research study. This study includes: a comparative analysis of graduating students under two distinct curriculums; a science quantitative skills assessment task; and interviews to gain a longitudinal perspective. The proposed analysis framework incorporates Barnett and Coates’ notion of ‘knowing’, ‘acting’ and ‘being’ along with Barton’s VPOR (vision, philosophy, orientation, role) model, and will be interpreted in a ‘curriculum as experienced by students’ lens within Snyder’s notion of the hidden curriculum. The study deliberately draws on the student voice to inform the development of curricula that effectively connects their understanding of mathematics in science whilst instilling the quantitative skills expected of a university science graduate.My initial findings have been published in international journals, featured in an article in The Australian, and have led to an ALTC-funded project involving three Australian and two international universities.
Title: The Undergraduate Statistics Conference
Speakers: Michael Bulmer, Gareth Evans and Ian Wood
Abstract: Since 2007 we have run a conference each semester for students in our introductory statistics courses (STAT1201, PHRM1020 and HRSS3100/7806). This is a one-day conference, held on a Saturday, in which every student gives an individual 5-minute oral presentation on the use of statistics in a research paper of interest to them. In this talk we will discuss the role of this task as a learning activity in the curriculum and various issues related to its use. We will also detail the structure of the conference and the technologies that facilitate its management and timely feedback to students.
As usual, delicious treats will be provided. The next seminar will be on Wednesday 20 April.
20-21 July 2010, AMSI Workshop: Algorithms, Algebra and Analysis in Four Dimensions.
http://www.maths.uq.edu.au/~tillmann/4md/
Abstract: The public release of the first draft of the Australian K-10 Mathematics Curriculum has created much interest. This session will walk you through the structure and content of the curriculum, compare its stated aims with what it says students should be taught, and invite discussion of what all of this means for school teachers, school students preparing for upper secondary mathematics, and teachers of university mathematics.
On Monday 1 March 2010, the draft K -10 Australian Curriculum for Mathematics developed through the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) was released online, marking the beginning of national consultation. Feedback on the draft curriculum must reach ACARA by 23rd May 2010.
The draft K -10 Australian Curricula can be accessed online at the Australian Curriculum Consultation Portal at www.australiancurriculum.edu.au. You will need to register your details on the website to access the document (and also resources in the form of videos, information sheets and frequently asked questions). You will be given a login and password. (This will allow you to save and return your individual feedback over time as often as you wish as well.)
In recent years there has been a noticeable increase in the diversity of backgrounds, abilities and aspirations of students entering mathematics courses at UQ. In 2007, a pen-and-paper quiz was given to all MATH1050 and MATH1051 students in the first lecture of semester. The results suggested the topics most recently studied, in this case, differentiation and integration, appear not to have been strongly integrated into students’ conceptual networks or schemas. The results also suggested that students even have difficulty with topics they first experienced in primary school. The high percentages of “can’t remember” responses in the quizzes indicate that students have seen the questions before; however, either cannot remember how to do them or do not feel confident in attempting them.
In 2009 and 2010 the quiz was given online and completed before the start of semester by first-year engineering students. Questions covered both junior (Years 1-10) and senior (Years 11-12) mathematics content, and involved purely mathematical calculations as well as worded real-life problems. There were also physics, chemistry and thermodynamics questions. What did the results show this year? Come along to find out!
The session will provide an opportunity for people to look at the data from the studies, discuss what understanding of mathematics is important for high school graduates to bring to their university studies, and identify issues in bridging between secondary and tertiary mathematics.
We use the Ti-Nspire CAS technology in the College. As a mathematics department in a school we need to consider how to best use the technology while allowing students to address the general objectives of the Mathematics B Syllabus and to develop meaningful understandings of the mathematical concepts contained in that syllabus. The syllabus has a focus on Mathematical Modelling. So in the talk we will be looking at two tasks developed by the College and given to the students to investigate. We will be looking at solutions students have built for these tasks.
The first task was developed from some data downloaded from an Internet site showing the white blood count of a patient after he had been treated for leukaemia.
The second task uses software to collect data off a video downloaded from YouTube of the Tacoma Bridge’s motion prior to it collapsing. Students used this data to build a model of the motion. Data, generated from a NASA simulation downloaded off the web was used to find data for the lift associated with each of the variables width, length and angle that a rectangular plate makes to the wind. Students were asked to synthesise a strategy that would use this data to build a mathematical model for the total lift acting on the bridge (after applying some simplifying assumptions).
Trevor Redmond is the Dean of Mathematics and Science Education at A.B. Paterson College. He is the Chair of the Mathematics B Panel – Gold Coast Region and convened the subcommittee that wrote the 2008 Mathematics B and C Syllabuses. He organizes the A.B. Paterson College Mathematical Modelling Forum and Challenge. Trevor has been involved in a number of research projects with various Universities. He is interested in pedagogies which allow technologies to be used effectively so as to enhance the learning and teaching of mathematics all the while encouraging students to view mathematics as relevant and exciting.
All welcome! Delicious treats will follow the discussion!
It is important for students learning statistical reasoning to see data in context. One of the best ways of achieving this is to involve students in data production and so in the past ten years we have had first-year students undertake real experiments of their own choosing as part of our introductory statistics course. However in practice students are limited in what they can do. Many want to conduct experiments involving human subjects, requiring ethics approval, while even those not wanting to use humans may have general health and safety issues. Epidemiological studies have really not been possible at all.
We have developed an open-ended virtual environment, the Island, to help overcome these limitations while still engaging students with
study design and data collection. Students work with a population of virtual humans living on the Island and are able to conduct a wide
variety of experiments with them as subjects. The islanders also live in villages, have ancestors and die from a range of diseases, allowing
students to study the epidemiology of the island as well. In this seminar we will give a tour of this Island, highlighting some of the
features and the issues, and sharing our experiences of using the Island in teaching and learning.
All welcome! Delicious treats will follow the discussion!
In 2006, a number of Maths staff, along with other UQ staff, received a CARRICK INSTITUTE FOR LEARNING AND TEACHING IN HIGHER EDUCATION grant. This grant was for the creation of a flexible electronic framework through which students have access to a very large number of illustrative examples, problems and questions that cover a wide range of fundamental mathematical, statistical and quantitative skills.
Much work has been done on this grant since 2006, and the system created has been used for several years across a range of courses. Come along to find out what we’ve done!
The Project team: Peter Adams (UQ Mathematics), Jamie Alcock (UQ Business School), Michael Bulmer (UQ Mathematics), Joseph Grotowski (UQ Mathematics), Min-Chun Hong (UQ Mathematics), Michael Jennings (UQ Mathematics), Valda Miller (UQ SMMS), Mia O'Brien (UQ TEDI), and Victor Scharaschkin (UQ Mathematics)
All welcome! Delicious treats will follow the discussion!
Some of the tutorials for our courses are unstructured general help sessions and attendance fluctuates greatly depending on assignment due dates. Other tutorials provide marks for attendance which usually increases attendance but may or may not increase students’ engagement with the course material. This session will not be a formal presentation but rather a discussion of the tutorial styles currently in use and a brainstorming session of ideas for how we could improve our tutorials.
Barbara Maenhaut has offered to kick off the session by talking about MATH1050 and MATH3302.
I want to talk about the inclusion of Matlab software in teaching Calculus and Linear Algebra to first year students in MATH1051. In particular, I want to explain how I think it can be integrated,
blended into the curriculum, and actually used to tackle some of the threshold concepts/troublesome knowledge in the course, and not be seen (by teaching staff, and hence students) as an irrelevant add-on.
Most teachers would agree that it’s vital to know something about what your students have previously learned in your subject before you start teaching them. If you teach first year students, or indeed undergraduate students at any level, this means finding out about the mathematics that they learned at school. This talk will deal with not only the what of the secondary mathematics curriculum in Queensland - the key mathematical topics - but also when particular topics are introduced and how much time is allocated to some of the topics that lead to university mathematics. I’ll also discuss deeper questions about what gets taught to whom and why, who makes the big curriculum decisions, and how and why the Queensland secondary mathematics syllabuses have changed in recent years.
Download Professor Goos Powerpoint Presentation here.
Professor Merrilyn Goos has been Director of the Teaching and Educational Development Institute at UQ since February 2008. In real life she’s a mathematics educator, teacher educator, and education researcher. She’s individually or collaboratively authored around 150 research and professional publications, including an award winning university textbook on teaching secondary school mathematics. She’s also held numerous research grants funded by the ARC, Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training, and Education Queensland. She taught secondary school mathematics (and chemistry and food science) before joining UQ’s School of Education in 1992. In this previous role she co-ordinated pre-service and postgraduate courses in mathematics education, and served a 2 year term as co-Director of Teacher Education.
Merrilyn has many years experience carrying out research and professional development with school mathematics teachers. She has served on the Executive Committees of the Mathematic Education Research Group of Australasia and the Queensland Association of Mathematics Teachers (including a term as Vice President for Professional Development).
Most relevant to this talk is her experience in mathematics curriculum development in Queensland. From 1999-2003 she was a member of the Queensland School Curriculum Council’s Years 1-10 Mathematics Syllabus Advisory Committee and from 2001-2004 a member of the Queensland Board of Senior Secondary School Studies’ Mathematics Subject Advisory Committee. When these two statutory authorities merged to form the Queensland Studies Authority she was appointed Chair of the P-12 Mathematics Syllabus Advisory Committee, which develops mathematics syllabuses across all levels of schooling. During her term as Chair (2005-2007), this committee reviewed and revised every primary and secondary school mathematics syllabus used in Queensland.
In recent years there has been a noticeable increase in the diversity of backgrounds, abilities and aspirations of students entering mathematics courses at UQ. In 2007, a pen-and-paper quiz was given to all MATH1050 and MATH1051 students in the first lecture of semester. The results suggested the topics most recently studied, in this case, differentiation and integration, appear not to have been strongly integrated into students’ conceptual networks or schemas. The results also suggested that students even have difficulty with topics they first experienced in primary school. The high percentages of “can’t remember” responses in the quizzes indicate that students have seen the questions before; however, either cannot remember how to do them or do not feel confident in attempting them.
In 2009 the quiz was given online and completed during O-Week by first year engineering students. Questions covered both junior (Years 1-10) and senior (Years 11-12) mathematics content, and involved purely mathematical calculations as well as worded real-life problems. (There were also physics, chemistry and thermodynamics quizzes.) What did the results show this time? Come along to find out!
The session will provide an opportunity for people to look at the data from the studies, discuss what understanding of mathematics is important for high school graduates to bring to their university studies, and identify issues in bridging between secondary and tertiary mathematics.
"I hate maths". "I can't do maths".
Anecdotal evidence suggests that more and more students are entering university with very negative feelings towards maths. Most such students avoid maths if at all possible.
In 2008 we introduced a new subject specifically designed to help students develop strategies to lessen the effects of maths anxiety and test phobia, as well as to revise basic maths and build their confidence. A reflective journal was part of the assessment in this mathematics subject. These entries required students to reflect on their test preparation practices and to put strategies in place to lessen the effects of maths anxiety.
I will talk about our experiences with this so far.
We describe an innovative assessment piece currently being run in MATH2100.
We will hear from Valda Miller, PASS coordinator in the SMMS, about the pros (and maybe cons) of PASS tutorials, and how we in Maths might utilize them.
This will no doubt lead to vigorous discussion about how our Tutorials work and what improvements could be made.
We will also hear from Ricarda Thier about the new SCIE3044 Summer Research/Internship program, and the SCIE3012 Research course run during semesters.
In recent years there has been a noticeable increase in the diversity of backgrounds, abilities and aspirations of students entering mathematics courses at UQ. For the past two years, UQ maths academics have investigated first-year students’ abilities via a quiz administered in their first lecture of semester. Questions covered both junior (Years 1-10) and senior (Years 11-12) mathematics content, and involved purely mathematical calculations as well as worded real-life problems. The first group of students was studying a specialist mathematics bridging course, MATH1050; the second had completed the equivalent specialist mathematics subject at high school (Maths C) and were studying a first-year mathematics course, MATH1051.
The results suggested the topics most recently studied, in this case, differentiation and integration, appear not to have been strongly integrated into students’ conceptual networks or schemas. The results also suggested that students even have difficulty with topics they first experienced in primary school. The high percentages of “can’t remember” responses in the quizzes indicate that students have seen the questions before; however, either cannot remember how to do them or do not feel confident in attempting them.
The session will provide an opportunity for people to look at the data from the studies, discuss what understanding of mathematics is important for high school graduates to bring to their university studies, and identify issues in bridging between secondary and tertiary mathematics.
Teaching large service courses presents several challenges to successful learning. These arise firstly as constraints from the client group, which usually has as a key objective that the course covers as much advanced material as possible, often at the expense of introductory material. Secondly, students often perceive that the course is not "main stream" for them and may commence the course with general negativity and lack of motivation, especially if the course appears to have a much different focus to their other courses (as is the case if the course is quantitative in nature and their other courses are not). They therefore need to be convinced of its relevance and applicability to their own discipline.
Over the past four years, building on a paper-based tutorial system for service courses in applied statistics, we have been developing an online tutorial system to assist in providing relevant contexts for students, ownership of data through individual data sets and a streamlined structure to encourage students to complete work without overburdening them. Students receive their instructions and some help online prior to their tutorial. During their tutorial, they obtain their data, then carry out their analysis and and prepare their report under the guidance of a tutor, and submit their report online. Tutors mark and provide feedback online for these reports, then the students access their tutor's feedback online. This system will be described and demonstrated, and current developments discussed, with potential applications to other courses in mathematics.
This is a new seminar series about innovations and projects that are underway in teaching maths and stats at UQ.
The first meeting will give an overview of what's going on, and how you can get involved.
Each fortnight we will meet and talk about some hot issue, and hear from people that are trying new things out.
Everyone is most welcome to come and contribute, from tutors in their first semester of teaching to old and jaded senior lecturers.