Thursday, October 27, 2016

MAA Books for Active Learning

Some people like to write their own notes for their active learning classroom. However, many resources that we've already shared on this blog, like the Art of Mathematics and the Journal of Inquiry Based Learning, provide great textbooks and resources you can use. The MAA also has several books that are useful for an Active Learning Approach.




Number Theory Through Inquiry”, by David Marshall, Edward Odell, and Michael Starbird

Distilling Ideas: An Introduction to Mathematical Thinking  by Michael Starbird and Brian Katz

Exploratory Examples for Real Analysis”, Joanne E. Snow & Kirk E. Weller

Explorations in Complex Analysis”, Michael Brillslyper, Michael J. Dorff, Jane M. McDougal, James S. Rolf, Lisbeth E. Schaubroeck, Richard L. Stankewitz, & Kenneth Stephenson


“A TeXas-style introduction to proof”, by Patrick Rault and Ron Taylor.

Coming soon. Preliminary copies available through the authors.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Faculty development - how to learn about active learning

Participating in faculty development is one key way instructors can learn how to apply active learning approaches. Our group has been evaluating workshops on Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) to learn what makes them effective in changing instructors' teaching practices - results show 60-80% of instructors reported using IBL in the year following the workshops (See here & here for more information). One key feature is that these workshops help participants learn how to implement IBL in a variety of contexts from large, introductory courses to small, upper-level courses. Building upon the results of these evaluations, the Academy of Inquiry-Based Learning and E&ER have recently begun a new NSF-funded project, PRODUCT , to increase capacity for training greater numbers of instructors to use IBL. Over 5 years, they will train new workshop facilitators, who will offer a dozen intensive workshops as well as shorter workshops. They are great hands-on opportunities for those interested in active learning to learn from skilled colleagues how to implement IBL in their courses and develop plans for an IBL course that fits your own context.

(Shared by Chuck Hayward, Ethnography & Evaluation Research, UC Boulder)

Active Learning and Self-Awareness

One of the best "side effects" of active learning is that students develop metacognition - self-awareness of their own learning and problem-solving approaches. Metacognition supports mathematical problem-solving because students with good metacognitive skills can better analyze and adjust their own problem-solving approaches or abandon ones that are not fruitful. Thus metacognition transfers to other settings - it's a lifelong learning habit. A metacognitive classroom has a rich mathematical culture where students are behaving like mathematicians, examining claims and asking for justifications. Alan Schoenfeld demonstrates this link in his classic article on metacognition and problem solving and suggests four ways to foster metacognition in your own classroom. 

(Shared by Sandra Laursen, UC Boulder). 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Beyond Lecture: Techniques to Improve Student Proof-Writing Across the Curriculum

This book has some ideas on how to provide active learning experiences to our students.  The e-book version is available for free to MAA members. One of the articles, by Patrick Rault, focuses on Teaching Proofs via Inquiry-Based Learning.


A TeXas Style Introduction to Proof

This new textbook serves to help instructors teaching a college level Introduction to Mathematical Proof course in transitioning to an active classroom.

Citation:    Taylor, Ron; Rault, Patrick X.  A TeXas Style Introduction to Proof.  Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Textbook Series.  To appear.  

The Greater Upstate New York Inquiry-Based Learning (UNY IBL) consortium


The Upstate New York Inquiry-Based Learning Consortium is a group of professors in the greater upstate New York region which have been meeting share their enthusiasms, frustrations, and triumphs related to the use of Inquiry-Based Learning in their mathematics classes.  We provide support and training workshops to college mathematics faculty and secondary school mathematics teachers in the use of active learning in their classes.

(Shared by Patrick Rault.)