FYMSiC Online Teaching Meet Ups

Online Teaching Meet Ups are a great virtual space to have a conversation about math and stats teaching and learning with students and educators. Each meet up 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 meet up …

♦ Wednesday, August 24th at 2:00 p.m. (EDT)

Zoom: https://utoronto.zoom.us/j/83844858354

Passcode: fymsic

PART 1

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

PART 2

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

Abstract:

A general discussion about the upcoming academic year.

 

Most recent meet up …

♦ Wednesday, July 27th

PART 1

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.
 

PART 2

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.

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

  2. HOMEWORK: Scaffolding Practices that Enhance Math Learning by Julia Anghileri

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

  4. 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. 🙂

 

Save the date …

♦ More coming FALL 2022 TERM! Stay tuned!

 


Past meet ups …

2022

♦ 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?

 

2021

♦ 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) …

Presenters:

  • 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! 🙂

Presenters:

  • 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 …

Presenters:

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?

Presenters:

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.

Presenters:

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.

 
2020

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? …

Presenters:

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 …

Presenters:

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 

Presenter:

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 … 

Presenters:

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

Materials and information shared in discussion:

Padlets | Padlets [Handout]

 


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]