Proposal Title

Science writ large: Experiences in teaching and coordinating large introductory classes, with an emphasis on mathematics.

Session Type

Panel Discussion

Room

P&A Rm 117

Start Date

July 2015

Keywords

mathematics, calculus, large classes, first year

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

Many introductory science courses have very high enrolment, particularly at large universities. For mathematics, teaching large classes is particularly challenging, since the course material rarely lends itself to slide-show presentations, and typically involves extensive and careful writing, both by instructor and student. While teaching a large section of such a course (300 or more students) thus has unique challenges, offering high enrolment courses in numerous smaller sections can also be problematic. In this panel, we will discuss contrasting experiences in coordinating and instructing large introductory courses, with an emphasis on mathematics courses. We do not plan to discuss institutional and other constraints that are beyond what we as instructors can change. Instead, we will focus on ideas, pedagogical approaches and teaching strategies. After brief introductory remarks from the panelists, we will host a moderated discussion and question and answer session. From this session, we plan to create a list of recurring topics and issues, then gather in small groups focussed on each issue. In this way instructors facing similar issues will have a chance to meet, share and brainstorm. Our aim is to provide participants with fresh ideas that will allow each of us to improve the first-year math experience at our home institutions, for example by connecting lectures to current research topics and raising expectations for serious, independent learning. The discussion should be easily translatable to other fields in science, particularly those that do not lend themselves to slide presentations.

Elements of Engagement

moderated discussion

question and answer session

collecting main themes that emerged from the above, and gathering small focus groups around each idea

participants in each focus group with brainstorm and share ideas

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Jul 10th, 10:45 AM

Science writ large: Experiences in teaching and coordinating large introductory classes, with an emphasis on mathematics.

P&A Rm 117

Many introductory science courses have very high enrolment, particularly at large universities. For mathematics, teaching large classes is particularly challenging, since the course material rarely lends itself to slide-show presentations, and typically involves extensive and careful writing, both by instructor and student. While teaching a large section of such a course (300 or more students) thus has unique challenges, offering high enrolment courses in numerous smaller sections can also be problematic. In this panel, we will discuss contrasting experiences in coordinating and instructing large introductory courses, with an emphasis on mathematics courses. We do not plan to discuss institutional and other constraints that are beyond what we as instructors can change. Instead, we will focus on ideas, pedagogical approaches and teaching strategies. After brief introductory remarks from the panelists, we will host a moderated discussion and question and answer session. From this session, we plan to create a list of recurring topics and issues, then gather in small groups focussed on each issue. In this way instructors facing similar issues will have a chance to meet, share and brainstorm. Our aim is to provide participants with fresh ideas that will allow each of us to improve the first-year math experience at our home institutions, for example by connecting lectures to current research topics and raising expectations for serious, independent learning. The discussion should be easily translatable to other fields in science, particularly those that do not lend themselves to slide presentations.