MichNExT 2002 Program

Supported by the Michigan Section-MAA and the Exxon Foundation

May 9, 2002, 3:00-6:30 PM
Lawrence Technological University

Here is a tentative schedule for the afternoon and evening. Abstracts of the presentations appear below.


3:00-3:20 Greeting and Refreshments
3:30-4:10 Try This! Teaching Tips
Janet Andersen, Hope College
4:15-4:55 My First Foray into Undergraduate Research
Matt Boelkins, Grand Valley State University
5:00-5:40 Learning Mathematical Symbolism: Challenges and Instructional Strategies
Rheta N. Rubenstein, University of Michigan-Dearborn
5:45-6:25 A Few of My Favorite (Technological) Things
Randal Pruim, Calvin College
7:00-9:00 Dinner at La Fendi


Try This! Teaching Tips

Janet Andersen
Hope College

My goal in this talk is to give you several teaching strategies that can be used in most any course. Most of these are strategies that I've learned from other people and modified for use in my own classroom. The strategies range from creating placemats to writing "scripts" to an electronic discussion board. Most of these ideas are techniques to try every now and then to lend some variety (for both you and your students) to your classroom.

My First Foray into Undergraduate Research

Matt Boelkins
Grand Valley State University

When I interviewed four years ago for my current position, I was asked if I was "interested in undergraduate research." I answered honestly in the affirmative, though I confess that I had little idea how such a project would (or could) work. As with much in academia, one learns by doing: during the last two years I have engaged in research with an undergraduate on a project that has been a qualified success.

In this talk we'll discuss what is meant by "undergraduate research" in mathematics, share some lessons learned in doing such work, and discuss possible avenues for formulating future problems and opportunities for projects with students. Audience participation and discussion will be central to the talk.

Learning Mathematical Symbolism: Challenges and Instructional Strategies

Rheta N. Rubenstein
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Symbolism is one of the hallmarks of mathematics. Yet the symbolic language, which we so treasure, is often a challenge for our students. Many students have difficulty verbalizing, reading, understanding, and writing mathematics to express their mathematical thoughts, reflect on concepts, or extend ideas. As a result many students are hindered in their mathematical development. In this talk we will look at a few specific symbol challenges facing students and some instructional strategies to support students' effective learning of this essential mathematical language.

A Few of My Favorite (Technological) Things

Randall Pruim
Calvin College

ALIVE (Active Learning in Virtual Environments) is a project at Calvin College that pairs up undergraduate students with faculty mentors to put together interactive, technology-based teaching and learning tools. This semester I supervised two ALIVE projects.

The first project set up WeBWork, a web-based mathematics homework system that allows students to submit homework solutions via the internet and receive immediate feedback on the correctness of their solutions. Problems can be written as randomized schemes so that each student receives a unique but similar problem. Free-from numerical, textual or functional answers are supported in addition to standard things like multiple choice, matching and True/False. Our focus was on techniques of differentiation and integration.

For the second project, the student and I searched for and also wrote mathlets that can be used in calculus courses. One important component of the project was to write highly cofigurable applets that allow instructors to tailor mathlets to their specific situations by simple editing of an html file (no java knowledge required to change colors, pre-loaded examples, menu options, etc.).

I plan to be introduce and demonstrate briefly each of these projects as well as the use of Prosper, a LaTeX way of making mathematical slide presentations that seeks to replace PowerPoint (at least for mathematical purposes) by allowing the use of colors, overlays, effects, and the like while maintaining LaTeX's mathematical capabilities.

This page is maintained by Randall Pruim. Please email comments, corrections, suggestions and the like to rpruim@calvin.edu.

Document last modified Friday, 03-May-2002 14:05:39 EDT