FYMSiC Online Teaching Meetups

Online Teaching Meetups are a great virtual space to have a conversation about math and stats teaching and learning with students and educators. Each meetup has a specific theme such as ‘How to teach ‘em math proofs in first-year and beyond?’ or ‘What is CEGEP?’ or ‘Transitioning to university: high school teachers’ experiences and views’, which may be accompanied by a couple of presentations – but for sure, a healthy, therapeutic and cathartic dialogue is always there about teaching and learning!


Upcoming meetup …

Wednesday, March 20th, 2024, at 4:00 p.m. (EDT)

Title: Let’s focus on content and good examples PART 3


By the end of [blank] course, my students should know or be familiar with the following mathematical content: ____________ , so that they can succeed in subsequent mathematics courses or elsewhere.


First and foremost, we want to THANK all presenters. *You are awesome!* 🙂

To finish off the meet up focus this Winter 2024 term … we will have four presenters give 5–15-minute presentations about the content and possible some good examples of their calculus course or the first-year calculus course sequence:

*Dan Wolczuk (University of Waterloo)

Course Schedules:  MATH 127 Course Schedule & MATH 128 Course Schedule

Course Notes: coming soon in April

*Ivan Khatchatourian (University of Toronto Mississauga)

Presentation Slides: MAT137/138 Calculus

*Mark Hamilton (Mount Allison University)

Presentation Slides: “New” Calculus Courses

*Brian Forrest (University of Waterloo)

Presentation Slides: MATH137/138 Calculus for Honours Mathematics

Course and Lecture Notes: 

MATH137 https://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/~baforres/UCM137/Lectures/BarbsM137Lectures.html



If anyone else would like to share things about their calculus course content and good examples, please join the meet up and we will give you the time to shine.

Again, thank you presenters! ^^^


Recent meetup …

♦ Wednesday, February 28th, 2024, at 4:00 p.m. (EST)

Title: Let’s focus on content and good examples PART 2


By the end of [blank] course, my students should know or be familiar with the following mathematical content: ____________ , so that they can succeed in subsequent mathematics courses or elsewhere.

Notes of the meetup: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nf9EzmY_jQX1Mjbqh6U-f4SOaObGBEGdXS5RZ6r-vl4/edit?usp=sharing


Save the date …

♦ Coming soon …


Past meetups …


♦ Wednesday, January 31st

Title: Let’s focus on content and good examples


By the end of [blank] course, my students should know or be familiar with the following mathematical content: ____________ , so that they can succeed in subsequent mathematics courses or elsewhere.

This winter term, we will investigate the content of a differential calculus course and integral calculus course in two separate meet ups. We plan to do the same for a first course in linear algebra and math proofs. We are aware that some content is non-negotiable within the course description or department and that some of us are not in the position to adjust the course content in a significant way. We can, though, do small epsilons of change when we teach. Also, YES, we want students to develop skills and have good forms of delivery and assessment within a course, but sometimes a discussion about content and good examples get lost.

Please pop a glance before the meet up in OpenStax Calculus Volume 1, Table of Contents for Chapters 1-4: https://openstax.org/details/books/calculus-volume-1

We will discuss content and good examples when we meet.

To productive and fruitful meet ups!

See you around, neighbourinos! 🙂

Discussion Notes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13EH03TtuDXSsFMQWbUlnH-FORzzyWELkasuWgvuXo7M/edit?usp=sharing


♦ Thursday, November 23rd

Title: A three-pronged lesson in differential equations in a calculus course: analytical, numerical and experimental

Presenter: Peter Harrington (UBC)

Abstract: University students often encounter differential equations (DEs) for the first time in their introductory calculus courses, but analytical and numerical approaches to solving DEs are often withheld until integral calculus is well established. Here I will discuss a different, three-pronged lesson taught at UBC for introducing DEs in a differential calculus course at the start of students’ university education. This lesson demonstrates the analytical and numerical approaches in a compressed sequence, and includes a third prong—the experimental approach, which is often consigned to engineering and physics courses. The lesson emphasizes the multitude of methods and their different strengths, incorporates software and programming at low cost, and provides opportunities for active, experiential, team-based learning. This is joint work with Amenda Chow (York) and Fok-Shuen Leung (UBC).

Thursday, October 26th

Title: Applying cognitive science principles for effective math instruction [Slides]

Presenter: Anna Stokke

Principles from cognitive science can help us understand how students learn and retain information, which, in turn, can inform our teaching. This is often referred to as the “science of learning” and has been studied by cognitive scientists for many years. Although I have been teaching for over twenty years, I wasn’t aware of some of this research for most of my career. I became fascinated with cognitive science and how it can be applied to math teaching several years ago, and I have since had the opportunity to speak with and learn from several experts in the area. I will discuss cognitive load theory and some of the principles of cognitive science that are particularly relevant to math teaching and how these can be applied in post-secondary teaching.    

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Anna Stokke is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Winnipeg. She has also been involved in math education outreach and advocacy for over 10 years. She is a co-founder and president of the non-profit after school math program, Archimedes Math Schools. She also hosts a podcast on math and teaching called Chalk & Talk. In 2021 she was awarded a 3M National Teaching Fellowship. Prior to that she won several awards for teaching and educational leadership, including the University of Winnipeg Clifford J. Robson Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence and the 2017 PIMS Education Prize. 


Thursday, September 28th

Title: A summer theatre for MAT102 (Intro to Math Proofs)

Presenter: Qun Wang (UTM)


This past summer, in the course MAT102 Introduction to mathematical proofs at UTM, we have implemented a series of bi-weekly 10-minute in-class cultural activities, consisting of poetry, rap, drama, debate e.t.c., with the hope to bring students some fresh air which can (hopefully) reinforce their passion into the journey of mathematical proofs. We will discuss the motivation, the design of topics, the outcomes, as well as some reflections based on students’ performance. 


 Thursday, August 24th

Title: Let’s Talk


Focused general discussion on teaching and learning mathematics. We will have a few talking points to explore, but encourage you, FYMSiC, to share topics as well: https://forms.gle/doVunjT4KezkjWp26 (due date: Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023).

 Thursday, August 3rd

Title: An Open Discussion on Managing our Academic Workload

Moderator: Gary Au (Saskatchewan)


  • The modern-day academic position often comes with myriad expectations, from teaching to research to administration to supervision/mentoring to outreach to volunteering at the campus dining hall. This online gathering aims to offer an open (and open-ended) discussion on all things related to academic workload: How are we doing? What are some tips and strategies that may help us better manage our work?

    Actionable item: To help us understand a bit more about you and your current academic workload, please fill out the following anonymous 3-minute survey! I’ll present a broad summary of the results at our online meetup.

    Link to Survey (a Google form that does not require signing in)


 Thursday, July 13th

Title: 10-Minute Teaching Talks


  • Giving CASK (Consensual, Actionable, Specific, Kind) feedback, Mike Pawliuk (University of Toronto Mississauga)
  • Math circles in Alberta, Ryan Morrill (Mount Royal University)
  • Outcomes of my TPSE (Tranforming-post-secondary-education) project, Lorena Aguirre Salazar (Valdosta State University)
  • School visits, math camps, and PD days: considerations for one-off teaching with unknown audiences, Zack Wolske (University of Toronto)
  • Strategies for Student Engagement and Active Learning in Math Classes, Jeremy Chiu (Langara College)


 Tuesday, April 4th 

Title: ALEKS + General Check-in

Presenters: Mark Grzeskowiak & Greg Nosal (McGraw Hill)


In this presentation, we will explore the versatile and powerful features of ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces) that enable educators to customize their teaching approach for each student, including:

  1. ALEKS’ adaptive learning, which assesses a student’s knowledge and adapts the content to their unique learning needs. With ALEKS, students receive a personalized learning experience that is tailored to their individual strengths and weaknesses.
  2. ALEKS’ assignable non-adaptive content, which allows educators to assign specific topics or lessons to their students. This feature is particularly useful for reinforcing classroom instruction or targeting areas where students need additional practice.
  3. ALEKS’ custom question creator, which empowers educators to create their own questions for their assignments. This feature allows educators to customize the content and assessment to align with their specific curriculum and learning objectives.

By the end of this presentation, you will have received a comprehensive overview of how ALEKS can enhance your classroom instruction with its adaptive learning, assignable non-adaptive content, and question creator features. 

We look forward to having you join us for this live demonstration to discover how ALEKS can transform your teaching and student learning outcomes.

After the presentation, we will have a general check-in to see how everyone is doing. 🙂


♦ Tuesday, March 21st

Title: Debates


For the next FYMSiC Meet Up, we are going to have one of the most active meet-ups ever! 

We will have mini-debates, and each will be followed by Q&A and discussion. For this to work, we need YOU !!!

Please fill out this Google form: https://forms.gle/MKti85srxxWi138TA

Debate topics are within the Google form.

* If you are willing to participate in one of the debates, put your name down and decide if you are arguing FOR or AGAINST during the Meet Up.

* If you have an idea for a debate resolution, please suggest it.

We will contact you this Friday, March 17th, 2023, if you will be the voice of FOR or AGAINST one of the debates.

Meet Up Format: each side will have five minutes to present their argument; then one round of 2-minute rebuttals, followed by Q&A and discussion.



♦ Tuesday, February 28th

Title: A Celebration of Great Math Education Initiatives

Presenters: Thomas Wolf (Brock), Joanna Niezen (SFU) & Petra Menz (SFU) + Kate Zhang (Humber) & Amir Tavangar (Humber)

Presentation Title & Abstract: 

Thomas Wolf (Brock)
Age Inversions of Math Contest Results

The talk reports on math contests where for some questions younger participants performed better than older participants. With tens of thousands of participants from 40 countries the results are statistically significant. Attempts to explain the observations are made. Suggestions from the audience are welcomed.

Joanna Niezen (SFU) & Petra Menz (SFU)

Partners in Design: Involving all Stakeholders in a Course Restructuring Process

At SFU, a Math for Elementary School Teachers course was created in Fall 2013 through the LMS Canvas. Over the years, the content greatly improved to foster student engagement with a variety of multimedia. However, its structural complexity also grew making navigation increasingly intricate. In an effort to improve student experiences, all stakeholders in this course were invited to be partners in design throughout Spring 2022: undergraduate students who had taken this course, graduate students in their roles as help centre tutors and graders, technical support staff, and instructors. In this presentation, you will hear about the process of working with all stakeholders, the benefits and challenges that arose, and the outcome of the collaboration. Survey data from Summer and Fall 2022 will be presented. We welcome questions about our project.

Kate Zhang (Humber) & Amir Tavangar (Humber)

Introduction to an Open-Source Teaching and Assessment System – IDEAS

The Mathematics Department at Humber College has successfully transitioned its entire degree and diploma curricula, serving an average of 10,000 students annually, to a robust open educational resource platform, IDEAS, since 2020. During this presentation, we will present a glimpse of the Calculus and Ordinary Differential Equations courses and highlight several distinctive features of this platform, such as its various algorithmically generated questions, interactive live polls, and advanced learning management tools.


♦ Tuesday, February 7th

Title: Where are we on the mathematics and statistics education hype curve? ENCORE [from the 2022 CMS Winter Meeting]

Moderating: Diana Skrzydlo (Waterloo) 🙂

Presenter: Dan Wolczuk (Waterl00)


Dan Wolczuk (Waterloo)
Fact, Fiction, or Fad?

As we seek to improve teaching and learning in mathematics and statistics, we encounter a constant stream of innovative ideas. For any of these ideas, it is generally easy to find some sources that support them and some other sources that refute them. Thus, evaluating whether these methods will be effective for our students is a challenging endeavor.

In this presentation, I will discuss a strategy for determining if an educational approach is fact, fiction, or fad. I will also share what I’ve learned after having applied this strategy over the last 7 years.


Dan’s presentation was fantastic at the 2022 CMS Winter Meeting Education Session, Where are we on the mathematics and statistics education hype curve? (https://www2.cms.math.ca/Events/winter22/abs/waw#dw), in December 2022, organized by Diana Skrzydlo (Waterloo) and Andie Burazin (UTM).

Definitely worth hearing the talk! It was a huge hit! 🙂

For those who missed Dan’s talk . . .

Link: https://utoronto.zoom.us/rec/share/xkpuAIsBOcO3JEf0crehq5QJbH0ZbADYdzBJW2UiOzPQE06JDJOzXgnwXgPNfcD5.gBaHvY6wgmt_i0j1?startTime=1675804079000
Passcode: rjz8Wa13^k



♦Thursday, November 24th

Title: End of Term Check-in !!!


How was it coming back this Fall term to your classes in person on campus? How did the students feel and your teaching team this term? Did you find a happy balance of online and in-person components? Did you try something new that you want to share with everyone in your courses? What are you looking forward to in the 2023 Winter term? Let’s have a discussion. 🙂


 Thursday, November 3rd

Cool (classroom) Projects


Title: Runestone: the next big LEAP in open textbooks

Presenters: Sean Fitzpatrick (Lethbridge), Rob Beezer (Puget Sound), and Brad Miller (Luther College)


Runestone is a Learning Engineering and Analytics Portal (LEAP) for hosting open, interactive textbooks, either locally (installed on your own server) or hosted (at https://runestone.academy).  The purpose of a LEAP is help students, instructors, authors and researchers all perform their respective responsibilities more effectively.  Runestone was originally created for computer science, but is expanding its reach into mathematics, thanks to a partnership with PreTeXt.

A PreTeXt book is already interactive, but Runestone lets students log into the book, and get credit for completing interactive exercises while they read the book. This adds incentive for students to actually read the book.  The Runestone dashboard allows instructors to quickly see which parts of the reading students struggled with and plan class time accordingly.  It allows authors and researchers to conduct experiments to figure out whether questions are effective or to try new pedagogical approaches.

If your PreTeXt book runs on Runestone, and has WeBWorK exercises, you can assign some of those exercises as homework: students can earn their online homework grade without having to leave the textbook, and because they’re seeing those problems in context, they are more likely to be able to figure out how to solve them.



Title: Bringing life into life sciences calculus

Presenter: Asmita Sodhi (Victoria)


The life sciences calculus course at Dalhousie University is a “one and done” kind of course (students have the option to take a second semester of calculus but very rarely do so) and as a result many students view it as a box they have to check off and don’t see the relevance of calculus (and math in general) to the rest of their studies. In an attempt to highlight some of the ways students may encounter concepts in their degrees and careers, I developed six assignments in the Summer 2022 semester that were linked to work done by an actual, real-life human with a career in life sciences. Along with each assignment there was an opportunity for students to attend session with the aforementioned human, in which we’d talk about the person’s career and how they use math in their work. I’ll talk about the process of creating these assignments and interviews, and how they worked out in my class.

Course Resources: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1BXTJBfejTiCoaUgOcjRpfmeFHF3kZhbL?usp=sharing [Google Doc]


♦ Thursday, October 20th

Title: Math Help Centres!

Abstract: We are wondering . . .

  • What is available outside of the classroom to help students with their math questions? 
  • Who is there (staffing)? 
  • How is it organized, and who runs it? 
  • What is the capacity?
  • What are the working hours? 
  • Face to face and/or online? 
  • Is it one-on-one help, or is group work encouraged?

We will have a few individuals discuss how they organize their math help centres.

FYMSiC Math Help Centre Data [Excel]


♦ Thursday, September 29th

Title: How do we, math and stats practitioners, keep ourselves relevant so that we do not become self-check outs?

Presenter: Vincent Bouchard (Alberta)

A short presentation about a frightening situation to generate conversation.


Crowdmark Team, (2014). Is the Instructor an Endangered Species? Retrieved from: https://crowdmark.com/blog/is-the-teacher-an-endangered-species/?utm_source=journal&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2022-04_Journal_Issue44&utm_content=read-more

Abstract: Does the model recorded lectures + TAs teaching work, or any other model where the instructor is passive or non-existent? Will instructors become hostages of university administration and political correctness – what do we do about it? Why instructors will always be relevant? We will have a discussion surrounding this with a math and stats focus.


♦ Wednesday, August 24th


Title: e-Resources for TA Training

Presenter: Ami Mamolo (Ontario Tech University)

Abstract: Resources for self-directed e-learning are changing how we can approach training and professional development of TAs. In this session, I will share some of the innovative and interactive online resources for supporting math TAs that were developed by a team of educators from Ontario Tech, McMaster, and UTM, and funded by eCampusOntario. The resources are part of a free self-directed e-course on teaching undergraduate mathematics with technology. Check out our trailer: https://youtu.be/2H5Pa0w_YzM

Instructor/TA online training: www.thinkmath.ca 


Title: Reflection & Check-in: Are we ready for 2022-2023?

Abstract: A general discussion about the upcoming academic year.

Cool teaching & learning resources: ?

https://www.wipebook.ca/products/flipchart [chart paper, but it is like a whiteboard! :)]

https://checkit.clontz.org/ [team-based inquiry learning for calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations]


♦ Wednesday, July 27th


Title: Learn to Use Eventmath – A Wiki for Sharing Math Lesson Plans Based on Current Events!

Presenters: Greg Stanton (Higher Math Help) and Brendan W. Sullivan (Emmanuel College)
Abstract: The information learners encounter in the news and on social media is always changing, so our lesson plans need to change too. With support from the Wikimedia Foundation, we have developed a new website where math and statistics educators can share and update lesson plans based on current events. Educators can also give and receive feedback, and browse a self-updating directory of peer-reviewed lesson plans. We call the project Eventmath.
In this talk, we will tour the Eventmath website, describe how it supports math and statistics educators, and point to opportunities for scholarship. We will then publish a webpage for a new lesson plan. Afterward, we will take questions and suggestions, and we will share a sign-up form for upcoming free workshops for new contributors, to be held over Zoom.


Title: Scaffolding in math and stats courses

Presentation Slides: FYMSiC Part 2 – Scaffolding in math & stats courses (July 27th)

Pre-readings: Some homework to help facilitate the discussion.

HOMEWORK: How Scaffolding Instruction Leads to More Student Learning in Math by Kate Gasaway

HOMEWORK: Scaffolding Practices that Enhance Math Learning by Julia Anghileri

OPTIONAL: (Theoretical paper) Scaffolding Complex Learning: The Mechanisms of Structuring and Problematizing Student Work by Brian J. Reiser

OPTIONAL, BUT RECOMMENDED 🙂 Scaffolding as a Teaching Strategy by Rachel R. Van Der Stuyf

Abstract: In hopes of the FYMSiC meetup attendees being great students by reading the pre-readings, we will have a healthy discussion about scaffolding in math and stats courses. To keep the conversation flowing, we have a few guiding questions which we will share at the meetup. If you did not read the pre-readings before the meetup, that is ok and we will not judge you. We are just glad that you will attend the meetup. 🙂


♦ July 6th: Math Comics & Multi-section Coordination

Presenters: Anton Mosunov & the UW MathSoc Cartoons Team

MathSoc Cartoons Website: https://mathsoc.uwaterloo.ca/mathsoc-cartoons-main-page/


March 31st: Houston – we STILL have a problem! 

Presenter: Barb Forrest (Waterloo) [Presentation Slides]

Abstract: Prior to the pandemic, conversations about the poor math skills of secondary students were common among educators. 

 “There have been a number of wide-ranging studies out of OECD countries that have found that preparedness for math in postsecondary education is really bad and it’s getting worse.”  

Reference: Big drop in math skills of entering students — University Affairs 

That was then, and here we are now – for two years secondary students have been learning mostly online and will be attending postsecondary institutions in person in the Fall.  University class sizes seem to be increasing and it is probably the case that incoming students’ basic math skills are not going to be better than they were in the past. Are they ready? Are we ready?  

I will describe some techniques that I have used for quickly identifying struggling students in large section first-year postsecondary mathematics classes. A group discussion will follow about our preparedness and strategies for offering the basic math support that may be required for incoming students.  Do we need math preparedness tests? Remedial math classes? Do they work? What can we do to quickly identify and help support at risk students? Attendees are encouraged to bring and discuss their solutions to this impending problem. 


March 3rd: TAs’ & Students’ perspectives on teaching & learning math & stats in these weird times across Canada …

Description: In short introductions/talks with room for a Q&A, we invited undergraduate and graduate TAs and undergraduate students from across Canada who are brave to talk to FYMSiC. They will share their experiences with teaching and learning math and stats in these weird times being online and/or in person. It is important to hear their voices to better our teaching practice and courses.


February 17th: Connecting statistics curriculum to students’ curiosity …

Presenter: Diana Skrzydlo (Waterloo) [Presentation Slides] & Meet Up Jamboard [Link

Abstract: How can you motivate students to learn a required subject they don’t think is relevant to them?

At the University of Waterloo, all math students, including computer science (CS) students, are required to take two courses in probability and statistics. However, the relevance of statistics to CS was not typically pointed out. Computer science students’ performance in these courses was historically lower when compared to that of other math students. 

To address this, we offered a separate section of the first probability course, STAT 230, specifically aimed at computer science students. In class, the instructor focused on the CS applications of the course material, but the students had the same tests and exams as the non-CS students. We hoped that by inviting the CS students to see the applicability of probability to their chosen field and personal interests, they would be more motivated to learn the material and their performance would improve. 

This presentation will discuss some of the challenges and successes we had along the way, including how we iteratively improved the course, student feedback results, and the quantitative impact on student grades. The problem we faced is not limited to CS students in Statistics courses, so we will also give attendees the chance to examine how their existing courses can be tweaked to reach and motivate sub-populations of students that are under-served by the current course design. Participants will come away with tangible ideas for making their material relevant to students and empowering them to learn and succeed.


Resources Shared:


February 3rd: What math do we really need to function in today’s society?

Presenter: Miroslav Lovric (McMaster) [Presentation Slides]

Abstract: I will describe the numeracy course I am teaching at McMaster, and then we will try to arrive at some kind of consensus on what a numerate person should know or be able to do. Is there a place for a numeracy course in a university curriculum, or should it be done earlier, in high school?



♦ November 4th: Math & Stats Chairs & Deans share their views, problems, and thoughts …

Moderator: Amenda Chow (York) – YOU DID AMAZING !!! BRAVO !!! 🙂

Invited Math & Stats Chairs & Deans:

    • Nancy Chibry, Faculty of Science Associate Dean – Undergraduate, University of Calgary
    • Steven Desjardins, Assistant Chair, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, University of Ottawa
    • JF Williams, Associate Chair, Undergraduate Learning, Department of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University
    • Benoit Charbonneau, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo
    • Fok-Shuen Leung, Undergraduate Chair, Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia [Presentation Slides]


♦ October 21st: Teaching Stats & Data Science (content, syllabus, qualifications of individuals who teach data science, how it fits into math/stats curriculum; is data science a program or just courses) …


  • Bruce Dunham (UBC) – Re-visiting Introductory Statistics: What Do We Really Need? [Presentation Slides]

    Abstract: The need for statistical thinking has never been greater yet, it will be argued, the education system in Canada handles the discipline poorly. All Canadians require training in the understanding of uncertainty, risk, variation, and inference. Exposure to such concepts should be widespread and appear early in the education process, and the initial focus should incorporate only minimal mathematics and computation.

  • Jim Stallard (Calgary) – A Briefing on the Brief History of Data Science Programs at the University of Calgary [Presentation Slides]

Abstract: Over the past seven years (margin of error being one year), much of the pedagogical discussions occurring at both national (SSC) and international (ASAIASE) conferences has focused on the need for ‘data science education’ and the creation of such programs at the undergraduate level. Much of this is a response to demand from both public and private industry desiring the hire people who are strongly equipped with a unique set of both quantitative, computational, and coding skills. I will relay my experience in the formation and administration of both the undergraduate minor and the Professional Masters Program in Data Science and Analytics at the University of Calgary, both of which recently celebrated their fourth birthdays.


Resources Shared:


♦ October 7th: Your favourite analogies for introducing mathematical concepts? …

Host: Gary Au (Saskatchewan)

Description: We all learn new things more effectively when we can relate them to things we already know, and so a well-chosen analogy can be a great way to help students grasp a new mathematical concept.

Do you have some analogies you love to use in your classes that you don’t mind sharing? We would love to hear them! Both math analogies (that relate two mathematical concepts) and non-math analogies (that draw parallels between a math idea and a non-math idea) are welcomed.

The plan for the meet-up is that we will first discuss our ideas in the more intimate setting of breakout groups, and then we’ll reconvene and hear the favourite analogies from each group.

We hope you’ll come to the meeting with some ideas, and end up with even more great ideas!

Presentation: Möbius Demo & Chat [Möbius PDF]

Description: We would like to review our platform, Möbius, which is used coast to coast in Canada from SFU to Athabasca to UW, Western to Memorial University in NL. It is a learning platform used to create and deploy lessons and assignments for STEM courses. We have ready-made (but editable) content packs allowing one to quickly utilize the full capabilities of it, including leveraging its world-class math engine (Maple), providing immediate and meaningful feedback and going beyond simple fill in the blank and multiple-choice questions with robust capabilities including algorithmic and adaptive questions with powerful multimedia images to help anchor concepts.

For all additional information about Möbius, please contact: 
Robyn Beresford, rberesford@digitaled.com or fill this form to book a demo https://digitaled.com/contact/book-a-demo


August 25th: Reflection & Check-in …

Some great and thoughtful questions to stir up a saucy discussion and to help navigate or think about the new academic year.

Information shared in discussion:


August 11th: Resources for First-time TAs & Instructors …

Description: Teaching for the first time can be daunting for TAs or instructors. As a community, let’s share some of the resources or ideas to help our first-time TAs and instructors feel comfortable, confident, and more at ease.

Do you have a resource (e.g., training, professional development, workshop, seminar, book, podcasts, anything) that would be useful for first-time TAs or instructors? Or maybe you have a cool activity that is done during your TA or instructor training that works wonders? If so, please email us to post on the FYMSiC website! 🙂


  • Edna James (Algoma): Bolster and her experience with it

Abstract: I will demonstrate some exercises I’ve created on Bolster to help students both with rote learning and with discovery learning.  This tool has had a profound effect on the way I think about teaching, including the way I think about grades, failure, and even cheating.  It has opened up an explosion of creative teaching possibilities for me. It has caused a profound shift in my students’ attitudes toward mathematics in my classroom.  They stop asking for credit for incorrect work and start asking questions about how to solve problems instead.  At first, I was tentative about my new idea of requiring students to earn 80% on their quizzes.  Now this requirement is just a matter of routine.  With this tool, I am free to encourage students to learn from their mistakes and no longer have to penalize them for doing so.  My students don’t have to feel they cannot or do not want to do math in my class.  Finally, Bolster is not just a powerful teaching engine, but is a wonderful networking opportunity:  when I have questions or problems, I have help both from Bolster’s wonderful authoring staff as well as from many teachers all over the world, who are creating their own content, just like me.

  • Carmen Bruni (Waterloo): Lessons Learned from a Graduate Student Seminar

Abstract: Graduate students spend a large majority of their degree receiving technical training in doing research mathematics. What is often underemphasized is that these students will also be giving presentations and eventually teaching classes and often students receive very limited training in these facets of their degree. To help bridge the gap in training, we discuss a seminar for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows looking to teach their first course that a group of colleagues have been getting under way in the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo.

I will discuss our seminar format, including micro teaching sessions, practicum, assessment design and presentation skills. I will also discuss some of the challenges of this seminar and some of the ways we are trying to overcome these difficulties.
This is joint work with Cecilia Cotton, Zack Cramer, Brian Forrest, Paul Kates, Diana Skrzydlo and Dan Wolczuk at the University of Waterloo and discussions with Fok-Shuen Leung at the University of British Columbia.
  • Lauren DeDieu (Calgary) & Andie Burazin (UTM) each have a short resource to share to assist new instructors.

Information shared in discussion:

Bolster [App] https://bolster.academy/demo/ (contact: marc@bolster.academy & edna.james@algomau.ca) Free Demo: https://bolster.academy/pilot/


University of Waterloo Instructor Training [PDF]: Instructor-Training_Courses

BIRS (Innovations in Instructor Training) [Video]: https://www.birs.ca/events/2019/2-day-workshops/ 19w2231/videos

Sample Teaching Videos [Video]:


NExT [Program]: https://www.maa.org/programs-and-communities/professional-development/project-next

CoMInDs [Program]: https://www.maa.org/programs-and-communities/professional-development/cominds


MAA Instructional Practices Guide [PDF]: https://www.maa.org/programs-and-communities/curriculum%20resources/instructional-practices-guide

UDL Quick Tips [PDF]: UDL Quick Tips


July 28th: What will you keep? The ways our teaching improved in response to the pandemic … 

Description: Sean Fitzpatrick (Lethbridge) will lead us in a discussion about how our teaching has improved in response to the pandemic. Has the pandemic forced you out of any bad habits? How will your teaching practice change when things “return to normal”? What will you keep? We’d like to hear from you!  

At this meetup, we will invite you to share “what you will keep” in breakout rooms. We encourage you to reflect on this in advance of the meeting so that you’re ready to share!  

After the meeting, we will invite you to document your teaching practice changes in more detail in a Google Doc so that others can reference it later. If you already know what you’d like to share or cannot make it to the meetup, we encourage you to document it now: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LggPR4bCJt7D-DYFSOXXEn613WQjrV_rz9KUVyTenDU/edit?usp=sharing 


July 14th & 16th: A working group to address the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on students and faculty

Description: This meet up will explore the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on students and faculty. It will lead into a 2-part virtual working group session that will provide an opportunity for teaching-focused faculty at Canadian colleges and universities to work collaboratively towards developing supports to help faculty and students navigate the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on post-secondary education. The goal of the working group is to foster new connections between faculty from different institutions who have similar needs and concerns, and are interested in collaborating to build relevant supports. In the first session of the working group, participants will work together to identify common concerns and challenges at institutions across Canada (the main themes of the working group). In the second session, smaller working groups will be formed via the emergent themes from the first session. Participants will discuss and lay the initial groundwork for supports/resources that respond to these concerns and challenges.

The first session of the working group will occur immediately after Wednesday’s meetup and will use the same Zoom link. The second session of the working group will be held on Friday, July 16, 2:30 p.m. (EDT). You may choose to attend just the Wednesday session, or both Wednesday and Friday.

This meet up and working group session will be organized by Cindy Blois (Toronto), Fok-Shuen Leung (UBC), Vanessa Radzimski (Fraser Valley), and Pam Sargent (York).

Outcomes so far & getting ready for July 16th, 2021 . . .

On July 14th, 2021, we identified that many of our common concerns and challenges may be grouped as follows:

  • Pre-course interventions (review of the landscape, student diagnostics, instructor orientation)

  • Week 1 interventions (support and resources for new instructors and students, building communities and expectations)

  • In-course interventions (ongoing scaffolding)

In Friday’s session, participants will work in groups to do two things:

  1. Share, and ask for, resources of common interest to their group.

  2. Identify projects of interest related to these groups and establish a sustainable plan for collaboration on these projects.  (For example, one project could consist of constructing a week 1 module to help students identify and find resources to address gaps in their university math preparation)

Note that participants will determine their own level of engagement in each future collaboration; attending Friday’s workshop does not commit you further. The aim is for each group to take into account group members’ desired level of commitment, so that a longer-term collaboration can be sustained. 


All are welcome, even if you could not attend Wednesday’s session. If you haven’t already, please fill out the Google Form at https://forms.gle/haWhodv6whNs7gyD8, to help us form the individual working groups.


♦ May 19th: How to teach ‘em proofs in first-year math and beyond? Part 2 …


Shannon Ezzat (Winnipeg): Proof in Math for Elementary School Teachers [Presentation Slides]
Kitty (Xiaocheng) Yan (SFU): Logic and Indirect Proof [Handout]; Logic and Proof [Handout]; Proof Validation [Handout]
Jerrod Smith (Calgary): The Proof Handbook [Presentation Slides]; The Proof Handbook [Handout]; Thi Bible [Handout]
Lauren DeDieu (Calgary): Proof Writing Activities [Presentation Slides]; A Resource Bank for Writing Intensive Mathematics Courses: http://proof.ucalgaryblogs.ca
Materials and information shared in discussion:
Pascal having “Consequences” to introduce induction: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b86262012.texteImage
Timothy Growers (solving math problems in real time), one example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmEVwJ_lJ1A


♦ May 5th: How to teach ‘em proofs in first-year math and beyond? … Math proofs are the bane of most students’ existence in first-year math and in their upper-year courses! How can we attempt to make them less painful for our students? As well … what are some good strategies to introduce proofs and proving in first-year math? Assuming that you are designing a math proofs course, which concepts would you start with? Are there any resources that students can access before the start of a math proofs course or to supplement their learning within a math proofs course? Given limited resources, what are good strategies for assessing students’ knowledge of proofs? Should we teach math proofs within a standard first-year calculus course from good ol’ Stewart or similar texts? How can we strengthen our students’ ability to write math proofs beyond first-year?


Peter Taylor (Queen’s)

Sean Fitzpatrick (Lethbridge): Course Outline [Website]

Materials and information shared in discussion:

Proofs book by Gila Hanna and Michael de Villiers: Proof and Proving in Mathematics Education: The 19th ICMI Study [Link; Downloadable PDF file available]

Bran Katz: Proof Validation [Google Doc] also on Youtube

Francis Su: Teach Math like you’d teach writing [https://www.francissu.com/post/teach-math-like-youd-teach-writing]

Have a look at our Google doc for comments, suggestions, ideas, and references [Link]


April 15th: Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) We strive to be more inclusive with FYMSiC. Most of us are not fully aware of what is being taught in, or the successes and challenges in teaching mathematics and statistics at CEGEP, and beyond, in universities in Quebec. For this first session on mathematics in Quebec, we will invite 3-4 CEGEP instructors to share their teaching experiences with us.


Julie Plante (Vanier College): Cegep Presentation for Math Universities [Presentation Slides]  

Jean-Philippe Villeneuve (Cegep de Rimouski): CEGEP – Between High School and University [Presentation Slides]

Andree-Ann Pugin (Cegep de l’Outaouais): Teaching Mathematics in CEGEP [Presentation Slides]


March 18th: Reflection & Check-in … A space for a lively and healthy dialogue discussing, among other things, the following questions about online teaching and learning:

  • What have you learnt about yourself and your teaching practice?
  • What have your students learnt about online learning?
  • What will you use or not use when you eventually come back to teaching in person?
  • How has the mathematics and statistics you teach changed?

Read our Jamboard with many good, interesting, and creative replies to these questions.


November 17th: Challenges and successes in teaching level 2 courses in math and stats … In the general discussion, among other things, we will try to address the following questions:

  • What are we teaching in second-year math courses? And are these courses an adequate preparation for advanced math?
  • What should we be teaching in the second-year, but are not?
  • There is a well-known transitional challenge for students as they move from second-year to upper-year advanced math courses. How do we support them to better bridge that gap?


November 3th: Learning math and stats online? Let’s hear it from the TAs and students … Our students and teaching assistants will share their experiences as learners and teachers.


October 20th: Online collaborative work in math and stats classes: What works, what does not work? …


Vanessa Radzimiski (Fraser Valley): Collaborative Learning Online [Presentation Slides]

Andrea Hyde (College of the Rockies): Teaching Math and Stats in “Alternate Delivery” Format [Presentation Slides]


September 29th: Debrief: how are things going? … All together, and in groups, we’ll exchange our experiences, and (among other things) focus on two prompts: (1) what did go well? any positive surprises? unexpected cool things in your classes? and (2) one thing, based on your experience, you suggest other people do not try. 


August 24th: Icebreakers … what to do on the first day of classes …

Hosted by Tyler Holden (UTM)

All Icebreakers [Website]

Alfonso Garcia-Saz (Toronto): Alfonso’s Ice Breaking Puzzle [Google Doc] (prepared in collaboration with Nicholas Remedios, based on an idea by Chris Tuffley)

Carmen Bruni (Waterloo): Icebreaker – Important! Only click on one link! No cheating! Earliest Birthday (ignore year!) [Google Doc]; Second Earliest Birthday [Google Doc]; Third Earliest Birthday [Google Doc]; Latest Birthday [Google Doc]


August 10th: Technology show and tell …


Peter Taylor (Queen’s): Rabbitmath [Website]; Collision Model Activity [Presentation Slides]; Collision Model Notes [Slides]

Ana Duff (Ontario Tech): Using Open Data for First Year Math [Presentation Slides]; Modelling CPI Investigation and Sample Student work [Handout]; Canadian Mobile Subscriptions Investigation [Handout]

Asia Matthews (Quest): Perusall [Website]; Hypothesis [Website] 

Xinli Wang (UTM): H5P [Website]; H5P links [Website] 

Materials and information shared in discussion:

Jonathan Herman (UTM): MathMatize [Website] platform to review linear algebra and pre-calculus


June 29th: Lessons Learnt 


Andie Burazin (UTM): Lessons Learnt [Presentation Slides]

Materials and information shared in discussion:

Jamboard Idea-Sharing Tool

Mateen Skaikh (Thompson River): Planning Calculus I Week-by-Week [Google Doc]


June 15th: Student Engagement in Asynchronous Course Components … 


Brian & Barb Forrest (Waterloo): Asynchronous Student Engagement [Presentation Slides]

Materials and information shared in discussion:

Padlets | Padlets [Handout]


Online Teaching Meet Up Presentation Slides

♦ June 7 & 9, 2021: 2021 Canadian Mathematical Society Summer Meeting Education Session: Anything but Calculus! Alternatives to teaching Calculus in year 1


Conrad Wolfram (Wolfram Research): Will mainstream maths education survive the AI age?

Chris Sangwin (University of Edinburgh): Product vs Process: Problem solving as a year one activity

Chris Rasmussen (San Diego State University): Dynamical Systems Instead of Calculus [Presentation Slides]

Wes Maciejewski (San Jose State University): Life After Calculus [Presentation Slides]

Peter Taylor (Queen’s University): Reinventing Calculus [Presentation Slides]

Deborah Hughes Hallet (Harvard Kennedy School): When should students learn about data? Now! [Presentation Slides]

Claus Michelsen (University of South Denmark): From a discipline-oriented year 1 to an interdisciplinary mathematical modelling course [Presentation Slides]

Marc De Benedetti (University of Toronto Mississauga): Should First-Year Calculus be Taught by Physicists? [Presentation Slides]


Information shared in discussion & Manifesto:

Anything but Calculus! [Google Doc]


May 19, 2021: How to teach ‘em math proofs in first-year and beyond? Part 2 …

Shannon Ezzat (Winnipeg): Proof in Math for Elementary School Teachers [Presentation Slides]

Jerrod Smith (Calgary): The Proof Handbook [Presentation Slides]

Lauren DeDieu (Calgary): Proof Writing Activities [Presentation Slides]


August 10, 2020: Technology show and tell 

Ana Duff (Ontario Tech): Using Open Data for First Year Math [Presentation Slides]


July 27, 2020: Transitioning to university: high school teachers’ experiences and views …

Denise Grightmire (HCDSB): High School Remote Learning [Presentation Slides]


June 29, 2020: Lessons Learnt …

Andie Burazin (UTM): Lessons Learnt [Presentation Slides]



FYMSiC Past Events

 May 2020: FYMSiC: Teaching First-year Math and Stats Courses in Interesting Times (to say the least) [virtual]

FYMSiC Remote Classroom Survey Results: Course Delivery | Assessment | Meta Breakout Rooms Topics and Deliverables

Conference Notes: Course Delivery | Assessments | Five-Minute Talks 25 (Notes and Slides)


May 2019: FYMSiC: Time to Rethink our Curriculum? [Edmonton] Conference Webpage

Plenaries: Keith Mertens, Yvan Saint-Aubin, Linda Braddy, Scott Rodney

Working Group Reports: What should we teach (Saturday), Active learning (Sunday)


February 2019: FYMSiC: Repository and Service Courses [BIRS, Banff]

Summary of Workshop: Report

Workshop Notes: Notes by Darja Barr and Notes part 1, part 2, part 3 by Amanda Malloch


April 2018: FYMSiC: Facts, Community and Vision [Fields Institute, Toronto] Conference Webpage

Summary of Activities: Snapshot Document [Saturday, April 28] and Future Directions [Sunday, April 29]