Math-Ed seminar Math 903

This seminar studies topics related to the teaching of mathematics, concentrating on the post-secondary level. The specific topics covered are chosen each semester based on the interests of the organizers (Bob Wilson, Steve Bauman, and Phil Miles) and participants.

The timetable for Spring 2009 shows this seminar scheduled for 3:30-5:00 on Wednesdays. That may change: C&I 811 is scheduled at a time that overlaps, and several people have expressed interest in being in both.


Wednesday, January 21: Won't meet this week.

Wednesday, January 28: We will have a short organizational meeting at 3:30 in B115 Van Vleck. At this time we will see if a different time is needed and also choose topics to concentrate on this semester.

Background: Mathematics 903, the seminar in teaching mathematics at the college level, covers topics of interest to the participants and related to how teaching works and how students learn. Some topics we have spent a lot of time on include:

How we can improve teaching in our college-level courses. This includes what we do in the classroom that we call teaching but also what it is the students bring with them, how they have been taught in high school, how we assess their work or the course, etc.
A component of this has been how college math classes really operate, when you are not "just" a teaching assistant. How do class syllabi come about? What do teachers actually assume and use as prerequisites, and what do they expect the students to be able to do at the end of the course?
More specifically, what should we be teaching in the college courses that prepare K-12 teachers.
What constitutes research in mathematics education? Most of the participants have a good idea what is publishable as a research result in mathematics, a very different thing.
What is it like to be a college-level math teacher when you are not a teaching assistant? If you get a graduate degree from this university and take a job as a math or math-ed professor, what will be expected of you and how can you do a good job of it?
Related to several of the previous items: How do students in college-level math courses get there? What did they learn in K-12? How was it taught? What roles do mathematicians have in that preparation, what changes are under way, how did they come to be and what effects are they likely to have, ...?

The seminar is available for graduate credit: See the faculty running the seminar (currently Steve Bauman and Bob Wilson and Phil Miles) for details. Participation has been fairly evenly split between graduate students from mathematics and other departments, some registered for credit, and faculty and staff.