Past Talks (2022-2023):

Autumn 2022

October 5

Teaching the Math 150s

Abstract: During this session, we will discuss approaches to and experiences with teaching the Math 150s sequence. Specifically, we will focus on teaching Math 151/152/153 in the Autumn quarter (where 152 and 153 in particular run a little bit differently than if they were taught in the Winter or Spring quarters). We will discuss questions like: How exactly do these courses differ from the Math 130s? How do the students tend to differ? What challenges or successes have we had (or anticipate) in teaching these courses? Sample materials will also be shared during the meeting.

October 12

Mastery-Based Grading: Some Preliminary Results
(Nikki Pitcher, UChicago)

Abstract: In mathematics classrooms, assessments are often seen as a necessary evil. Instructors wish to ascertain student understanding but assigning points and grades does not always correlate directly with learning goals. Mastery-based grading has been gaining traction in learning environments in recent history to overcome some of the hurdles of traditional grading schemes. The goal of mastery-based grading is to make learning goals more concrete while allowing students to revisit topics until mastery is achieved. Over the past two summers, I have utilized a mastery-based grading approach in my CAAP (Chicago Academic Achievement Program) classrooms. I will present the pros and cons of the approach, and then attendees will workshop ideas for improving upon the execution.

October 26

Teaching the Kuhn-Tucker Theorem (in Math 15250)
(Mark Bly, UChicago)

Abstract: Having invested some time acquainting myself to the Kuhn-Tucker Theorem (and techniques of Convex Optimization, more generally) while teaching Math 19520 during the quarters that Math 15250 was developed, I have (on two occasions) worked the teaching of the Kuhn-Tucker Theorem into my Math 19520 courses. Notably, these experiences helped me gain a better understanding of just how Kuhn-Tucker can be effectively woven into a quarter-long course of study that starts from the basics of multivariable differentiation theory. During this talk, my plan is to share as much as possible about my experiences teaching Kuhn-Tucker so that together we can develop as much departmental knowledge as possible (in 50 minutes) about the pedagogical particulars associated with this topic.

November 2

MAA Guide Discussion
(Selma Yildirim, UChicago)

Abstract: This meeting is a continuation of our series of discussions on the MAA Instructional Practices Guide. Specifically, we will be covering sections AP.3, AP.4, and AP.5 in this guide, which correspond to Session 6 in the Book Study Guide.

November 9

Examining Student Voices on Inclusion in Calculus Courses
(Karl Schaefer and Ali York, WUSTL)

Abstract: To create more inclusive and equitable environments for our students, we must seek to understand how students interpret their feelings on how 'inclusive' they feel their courses are. To do this, we've developed and implemented a mixed-methods survey measure to better understand inclusion, and whether or not students feel measures are being taken in their courses to make it more inclusive. In this talk, we will introduce our inclusion survey and discuss some of our findings, which suggest that instructors have a lot of power in terms of creating an inclusive course, no matter the subject, and that these findings can provide faculty with strategies to improve their teaching.

November 16

MAA Guide Discussion
(Seyed Zoalroshd, UChicago)

Abstract: This meeting is a continuation of our series of discussions on the MAA Instructional Practices Guide. Specifically, we will be covering sections AP.6 and AP.7 in this guide, which correspond to Session 7 in the Book Study Guide.

Winter 2023

January 11

Math 153 Workshop
(Charlie Cunningham, Andreea Iorga, Seyed Zoalroshd; UChicago)

Abstract: Substantial content changes were made to Math 153 this year. A panel of experienced instructors, Charlie Cunningham (AIP), Seyed Zoalroshd (AIP) and Andreea Iorga (GSL), will discuss their experiences with Math 153. This panel discussion is strongly recommended for anyone teaching Math 153 this quarter or next.

January 18

Workshop on Possible Solutions to Some Common Gradarius Issues
(Selma Yildirim, UChicago)

Abstract: During this workshop, we will work on possible solutions to some common issues that we have while using Gradarius platform for online homework. Any effort spent on this not only help us to utilize this platform well but also provide an opportunity to create our question style in Gradarius. After the workshop, a list of common issues and solutions will be compiled.

January 25

MAA Guide Discussion
(Mark Bly, UChicago)

Abstract: This meeting is a continuation of our series of discussions on the MAA Instructional Practices Guide. Specifically, we will be covering sections DP.1 and the beginning of DP.2 in this guide, which correspond to Session 8 in the Book Study Guide.

February 8

Fun facts about the Math 180s sequence
(Kale Davies, UChicago)

Abstract: Did you know that one of the first Math 180s instructors was a real-life horse? No? Of course not, that's obviously not true, it clearly makes no sense. But if you're looking for some actual fun facts* about the Math 180s then have I got a presentation for you. For those that don't know, the Math 180s is the new Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences sequence, with the first course in the sequence, Math 183, being offered from Autumn 2020. As I have been involved in material development since Summer 2020 and have been teaching the sequence since Winter 2021, I have a great amount of insight into the objectives of the sequence, the difficulties of the curriculum, and the needs of different majors that require this sequence. In this seminar, I will communicate some of the details of these service courses in the hopes that this information is beneficial to the instructional faculty, instructors who are or will be teaching these courses, and anyone else who is interested.

*fun facts are not guaranteed to be fun or facts.

February 15

Group Work in Math Classes
(Sarah Ziesler, UChicago)

Abstract: There are many well-established potential learning benefits to group work, but assigning group work is no guarantee that these benefits will be achieved. How can we design and structure group work to achieve our learning goals? What are the crucial components? Are there ways to minimize the risk of free riders, social loafing and conflict within groups? How do we assess group work fairly? In this seminar, I'll focus on group projects/homework assignments and discuss some of the benefits and challenges for students and instructors, drawing on the literature as well as my own experience.

February 22

Implicit Bias Workshop
(Bias Education and Support Team, UChicago)

Abstract: The Pedagogy Seminar invites you to a professional development workshop, Implicit Bias and Microaggressions, hosted by the Bias Education and Support Team (BEST). This session will provide participants with a deeper understanding of bias and its taxonomy, the science behind bias, a framework for interrupting bias, and an opportunity to engage in relevant case studies.

Please Note: This meeting is scheduled from 1:30 - 3:00 PM and will meet in the Community Lounge at the Center for Identity and Inclusion (5710 S Woodlawn Ave).

Talks in Spring 2023

March 29

MAA Guide Discussion
(Nikki Pitcher, UChicago)

Abstract: This meeting is a continuation of our series of discussions on the MAA Instructional Practices Guide. Specifically, we will be covering sections DP.2 - DP.4 (pp. 100 - 111), which correspond to Session 9 (on Design Practices) in the Book Study Guide.

April 5

Metacognitive Strategies to Enhance Students' Learning
(Selma Yildirim, UChicago)

Abstract: After presenting a broad overview of metacognition and related literature research, I will talk about some metacognitive strategies that could be applied in a math classroom to enhance learning.

April 12

Using Technology to Enhance Undergraduate Math Classes
(Charlie Cunningham, UChicago)

Abstract: Many studies, as well as professional experience, show that technology can be a powerful tool to enhance learning and understanding in math classrooms. Join us for a discussion of the benefits, challenges, and technical issues surrounding integrating technology directly in the classroom. In particular, I plan to show ways that I've implemented technology, including Mathematica, Desmos, and Geogebra, into synchronous class time, as well as labs or homework assignments. Overall, this is meant to be an interactive discussion more than a formal presentation, where we can all come together to share ideas about best practices and overcome challenges, such as the fact that the horse that used to teach the Math 180s had trouble coding with only hooves, as well as some of my extremely ugly Mathematica code that I haven't figured out how to completely hide from students. Come see some pretty math pictures!

April 26

Math 105
(Daniel Hess, UChicago)

Abstract: This past Autumn quarter, the department brought back a course that has not run in nearly a decade: Math 105 (Fundamental Mathematics I). This Precalculus course is designed specifically to set students up for success in the Math 130s sequence and it does not satisfy the Core requirement in mathematics---anyone who is enrolled is on a track to take Math 131 and Math 132 in the following two quarters with their Math 105 instructor. Thanks in part to its role in our department, Math 105 is an important course that leads to many interesting pedagogical questions. In this talk, I'd like to share my experience with teaching Math 105 and the two courses that follow. My hope is that this talk is useful not only for future instructors of Math 105, but also for any instructor looking for some insight into how to approach Precalculus topics in the classroom.

May 10

Using Questions to Engage Learners
(Brent Barker, CCTL)

Abstract: As instructors, we pose questions to our students all the time, in a variety of contexts. In this workshop, we will discuss the reasons we ask questions, different question types, and how we can use questioning strategies to engage learners. Participants will reflect on their use of questions and analyze a sample exchange between an instructor and students.

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