Breakout Sessions for Friday, February 3, 2017

Sam Paczcni, University of New Hampshire

San Paczcini, University of New Hampshire, and K. Ann Renninger, Swarthmore College

Plenary Workshop

This hour-long workshop will engage participants more deeply in the content of the two plenary talks, specifically consideration of roadblocks to competence and ways to use both feedback and task context to address them. Participants will work in disciplinary teams and draw on their own classroom experiences to identify strategies for addressing students’ illusory competence and motivational issues. Interactive discussion among participants and the plenary speakers will follow.

Click here for handout from this presentation.

Jan Cannizzo, Stevens Institute of Technology

Jan Cannizzo, Stevens Institute of Technology

Gradarius as a tool for teaching freshman calculus

Gradarius is an online calculus learning platform developed at the Stevens Institute of Technology, a private engineering school in Hoboken, New Jersey. What sets Gradarius apart from other online calculus systems is that it allows students to enter the entire solution (not just the final answer, or certain predefined steps) to a problem in a free-form manner, all the while offering step-by-step feedback.

At Stevens, Gradarius has completely replaced written homework assignments in freshman calculus. I'll explain how Gradarius fits into the way we teach calculus and our experience with the software so far.

During the session, participants will be given access to Gradarius (please take a laptop or tablet with you, or find someone with whom you can share a screen) as well as a handful of problems to solve so that they can see the software for themselves.

Robert Cappetta, University of Illinois at Chicago

Robert Cappetta, University of Illinois at Chicago

Math is Multicultural

Most people believe that mathematics is the province of dead white men. I will counter that by looking at "living" mathematicians, great women in the field, and influences from outside the westernized world too.

Attendees will have opportunities to engage in problem solving from various mathematical cultures.

Click here for the slides of this presentation.

Ginevra A. Clark, University of Illinois at Chicago

Ginevra A. Clark and Donald J. Wink, University of Illinois at Chicago

Relating student help-seeking to motivation, self-regulated learning, and success in General Chemistry

We will describe our efforts to understand the mechanisms by which students go from unsuccessful to successful in a general chemistry course. Specifically, we are studying the motivations, self-regulation and academic help-seeking of general chemistry students. While we can clearly demonstrate that students who use university-supported services outperform peers, it is more difficult to identify the causes for their success, or the reasons why some students remain less successful. We hope that by better understanding shifts in student motivation, self-regulation, and help-seeking, we can understand how students improve their performance.

We are using a pre/post semester survey instrument to evaluate several motivational attributes (interest, self-efficacy, effort beliefs). We found that students with a low self efficacy (a component of motivation) are more likely to seek help. Literature results show that students with low self-efficacy underperform their peers. Since, we can demonstrate that students who seek help outperform their peers (and have lower self-efficacy), our results suggest that the services are effective at improving student performance.

We are using a weekly survey to gauge student confidence on course topics and their reflections on their performance in the course. On average, student confidence decreases and help-seeking behaviors increase after the first exam. These results suggest that our survey provides an interesting window into student self-regulation, and may help us understand shifts that impact student performance.

In this breakout session we will share preliminary work, provide the rationale for our project, and explore specific case studies in General Chemistry. Our case studies are supported by student interviews and weekly reflections. We will also provide an opportunity for discussion on how to gauge and positively influence motivation and self-regulation within a classroom.

Cathy Evins, Roosevelt University

Cathy Evins and Mary Williams, Roosevelt University

College Algebra: Modeling the City

We will lead a breakout session about our NSF grant funded reform to our College Algebra course as part of the Engaging Mathematics project. The new version of the course, College Algebra: Modeling the City, addresses the issues of students’ attitude, behavior, and performance by creating a much more dynamic, relevant, and engaging course. Some aspects of the new course are a focus on issues and problems relating to the city of Chicago, a flipped format, frequent feedback, and opportunities for student reflection and metacognition. We will discuss each of those aspects in more detail and then lead an interactive activity with one of our Chicago based “Big Problems.”

Click here for the slides of this presentation.

Click here for documents from this presentation.

Shelby Hatch, Northwestern University

Shelby Hatch, Northwestern University, and Daniel Morales-Doyle, University of Illinois at Chicago

Taking it to the Streets: Rewards and Challenges of Moving a Chemistry Project out of the lab

The two presenters first collaborated in the summer of 2012 when Shelby was the General Chemistry Lab Director at Northwestern University and Danny was a high school chemistry teacher at the Social Justice H.S. in Little Village. The project - studying heavy metal contamination in the soil around the coal-fired power plants in Little Village and Pilsen - involved NU undergraduates, SJHS students, and members of local environmental justice organizations. We will discuss how we coordinated among the various groups. In particular, we will highlight how we were able to involve the HS students and community members not only in soil collection, but how they were able to travel to the NU general chemistry laboratory, prepare the samples for analysis, and tour the instrumentation facility where the samples were analyzed. We will also provide a brief snapshot of our forthcoming collaboration, "The Poisoned Onion,” and how it builds on our previous project. We encourage participants to give examples where they have collaborated in similar ways and what they found to work well--or not!

Wanwan Huang, Roosevelt University

Wanwan Huang and Melanie Pivarski, Roosevelt University

Monte Carlo Simulation Project for a Derivatives Markets class

We developed a project for actuarial science students using Monte Carlo simulation to estimate the European call option prices and Greeks.

The objectives of this project are:

  • Train the students to use Excel to implement Monte Carlo simulation;
  • Strengthen the students’ financial economics knowledge;
  • Teach the students how to communicate their research results.

The students will be provided the European call option pricing/Greeks formula from the Black-Scholes equation. They are required to select the parameters to do the simulation and analyze the results.

This session will include three parts:

  • The first 15 minutes will have the participants discuss and share their experiences with simulation;
  • The next 30 minutes will be used by the presenters to introduce the Monte Carlo simulation as applied in the Derivatives Markets course;
  • The last 15 minutes will be a discussion about what Monte Carlo simulation projects participants may create for their teaching.

Click here for the slides of this presentation.

Click here for the activity from this presentation.

Michael Lafreniere, Ohio University-Chillicothe

Michael Lafreniere, Ohio University-Chillicothe

Effective teaching model using a fully-digital approach

Ask yourself the question: how can technology be used in mathematics courses? In this presentation, mathematical learning goals such as content coverage, problem-solving, and student engagement are explored and demonstrated. Technology to achieve these goals can include digital video, digital whiteboards, and digital gaming.

The format of this presentation will include a summary of experience with these technologies, good and bad, and an opportunity to participate in the presentation like a student. Bring a computer, smartphone or tablet to participate.

Participants will be engaged in this presentation through the use of WebAssign, an online assessment system. Each of the items discussed in this presentation (video usage, whiteboards, and gaming) will be embedded in WebAssign as activities. Each participant will be given a student user account to access and participate in each form of technology.

Click here for the slides of this presentation.

Charlotte Schulze-Hewett, Harper College

Charlotte Schulze-Hewett, Harper College

Interactive Activities for the Math Classroom

I will present several activities that can be used in the undergraduate math classroom. Some of the activities can be used in the College Algebra, Precalculus, and Calculus classroom and are intended to be utilized in a small group format. Other activities are better suited to the Quantitative Literacy and Math for Education Majors classroom and will get the entire class moving around. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with the activities during the session.