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, July 28, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT=Toronto time); Zoom link: https://ucalgary.zoom.us/j/92491711332; Passcode: fymsic

The meet up focus is: 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 


Most recent meet up …

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT=Toronto time); Zoom Link: https://ucalgary.zoom.us/j/92491711332; Passcode: fymsic

Friday, July 16, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT=Toronto time); Zoom Link: https://yorku.zoom.us/j/91404549088?pwd=SHAvQjlxaEpJTUQxTVlRTTdneFNZdz09; Passcode: 665366

Title: 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 Friday, July 16th . . .

On Wednesday, 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.


Save the date …

Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT=Toronto time); Theme TBA

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT=Toronto time); Theme TBA


Past meet ups …



♦ May 19, 2021: 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 5, 2021: 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 15, 2021: 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 18, 2021: 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 17, 2020: 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 3, 2020: 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 20, 2020: 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 29, 2020: 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 24, 2020: 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 10, 2020: 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]; Modelling Mobile Subscriptions and Sample Student Work Mobile [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 29, 2020: 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 15, 2020: Student Engagement in Asynchronous Course Components … 


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]