MAA Minicourses

MAA Minicourses are open only to persons who register for the Joint Meetings and pay the Joint Meetings registration fee in addition to the appropriate minicourse fee. The MAA reserves the right to cancel any minicourse that is undersubscribed. Participants should read the descriptions of each minicourse thoroughly as some require participants to bring their own laptops and special software; laptops will not be provided in any minicourse. The enrollment in each minicourse is limited to 50; the cost is US\$100.

Minicourse #1. Using Automated Software to Learn and Teach Numerical Solution of Partial Differential Equations, presented by L. Ridgway Scott, University of Chicago; Part A, Wednesday, 9:00–11:00 am, and Part B, Friday, 9:00–11:00 am. Automated PDE software systems, such as FEniCS, are transforming both teaching and research in partial differential equations (PDEs). FEniCS Project software allows users to automate numerical solution of PDEs, catalyzing a change for PDEs similar to the one that Matlab did for linear algebra. We explain how the variational formulations for PDEs can be used as a language for codes as well as a theoretical foundation for understanding PDEs. We illustrate this on both simple and advanced problems. Combining theory with programming facilitates instruction in PDEs, their numerical solution, and associated modeling, without extensive mathematical prerequisites beyond multivariate calculus.

Minicourse #2. Teaching Reproducible Statistics with R and R Studio, presented by Ryan Botts, Point Loma Nazarene University and Judith E. Canner, California State University, Monterey Bay; Part A, Wednesday, 9:00–11:00 am, and Part B, Friday, 9:00–11:00 am. R is a freely available language and environment for statistical computing and graphics that has become popular in academia and in many industries. In addition, RStudio and RMarkdown have become standard tools in reproducible. analysis and reporting. This mini-course will introduce participants to teaching applied statistics courses using integrated computing to facilitate learning and develop best practices in statistical learning. The presenters will share different approaches to teaching statistics using R and some favorite examples for using R to teach statistics to undergraduates at all levels, including in introductory courses for mathematics and science majors. Topics will include simple approaches to provide novices with a powerful, but manageable, set of tools, workflow in the RStudio environment, data visualization, basic statistical inference using R, and using R Markdown to create documents that include both text and R output. This mini-course is designed to be accessible to those with little or no experience using R or teaching with R and will provide participants with skills, examples, and resources that they can use in their own teaching. Participants should bring a laptop.

This course is sponsored by the SIGMAA on Statistics Education (SIGMAA STAT ED).

Minicourse #3. Creating and Adapting OER Textbooks Using the LibreTexts Platform, presented by Judy Dean and Paul E. Seeburger, Monroe Community College; Part A, Wednesday, 9:00–11:00 am, and Part B, Friday, 9:00–11:00 am. This course will walk participants through the process of customizing an OER textbook for one of their courses on the LibreTexts platform. In addition to reordering and adapting content from existing OER course textbooks (from OpenStax and many other sources), participants will learn how to use a WYSIWYG content editor to seamlessly edit the textbook content and add their own sections, subsections, examples, and exercises using a consistent numbering system to form a textbook that looks professional and is customized for their course. Figure creation, integration of dynamic figures, editing of LaTeX math expressions, and working with mirrored vs. forked textbook sections will be covered in detail. The presenters have used LibreTexts to adapt textbooks for their courses in Calculus I, Calculus II, and Calculus III. See https://math.libretexts.org/Courses/Monroe_Community_College. The LibreTexts platform is completely free and is supported by grants, including the Open Textbooks Pilot Program Award from the Department of Education. See: https://libretexts.org/. Many of the most popular OER textbooks are already imported into the LibreTexts library, and more are being added all the time. See https://math.libretexts.org/Bookshelves for currently available content. Bring a laptop.

Minicourse #4. Visualizing Multivariable Calculus & Differential Equations Using CalcPlot3D, presented by Paul E. Seeburger, Monroe Community College and Monica VanDieren, Robert Morris University; Part A, Wednesday, 2:15–4:15 pm, and Part B, Friday, 1:00–3:00 pm. This course explores the use of CalcPlot3D to visualize topics in multivariable calculus and differential equations. CalcPlot3D is a versatile JavaScript web app for use on phones, tablets and computers, developed by the presenter through NSF-IUSE #1524968. Participants will use the app to visually verify problems from a variety of topics in both courses including the plane through 3 points, the intersection of two surfaces, the domain of a function of two variables, the general solution of a 1st-order differential equation, and general solutions of systems of differential equations. We will also explore a series of hands-on concept explorations designed to facilitate student understanding through exploration and visualization of a series of dynamic examples. Exploration topics include: dot product, cross product, velocity & acceleration vectors, Lagrange multiplier optimization, planes and lines in space, translations and transformations of surfaces, and TNB frames. Participants will learn to customize this app to create dynamic demonstrations and guided exploration activities of their own for student use and create files for 3D printing surfaces from the app. Participants will receive 3D glasses. Bring a laptop. See https://sites.monroecc.edu/multivariablecalculus/.

This course is sponsored by Web SIGMAA.

Minicourse #5. Visual Complex Analysis- GeoGebra Tools and Mapping Diagrams, presented by Martin Flashman, Humboldt State University; Part A, Wednesday, 2:15–4:15 pm, and Part B, Friday, 1:00–3:00 pm. The current version of GeoGebra allows dynamic and real time treatment of complex analysis with ease for users that has been available for at least 3 years. In this minicourse the participants will learn how to use GeoGebra and some prepared working activities to visualize many aspects of complex analysis with 3 dimensional mapping diagrams developed over the last few years and previously introduced at MAA sessions on revitalizing complex analysis. Participants will be given access to a GeoGebra Book with examples of the use of Geogebra to visualize key topics from Complex analysis and features of GeoGebra. Presentation will be interactive allowing participants to use, modify, and create their own GeoGebra activities.

Complex Analysis Topics Covered:

  • Arithmetic and algebra of complex numbers
  • Complex linear functions
  • Complex elementary functions
  • Limits and continuity
  • The derivative, analytic, and meromorphic functions
  • Linear fractional transformations
  • Complex integration and the Cauchy theorems
  • Series: Taylor and Laurent

Minicourse #6. IBL SIGMAA Minicourse: Introduction to Inquiry-Based Learning, presented by Susan Crook, Loras College and Carl Mummert, Marshall University; Part A, Thursday, 9:00–11:00 am, and Part B, Saturday, 9:00–11:00 am. This minicourse will be a hands-on introduction to inquiry-based learning. Inquiry-based learning (IBL) is a pedagogical approach that strongly emphasizes active learning and sense-making. This minicourse is intended for new users of inquiry-based learning and for faculty who are interested in becoming new users. By the end, the participants will be familiar with resources and facilitation methods for using IBL methods and materials in the classroom. The minicourse will focus on two key issues that new IBL users often identify as challenges.

The course will demonstrate concretely several ways IBL techniques can be used in a classroom. The facilitators and participants will model these IBL techniques as teachers and students, and discuss their experiences and reactions to these experiences. If resources are available, video clips of IBL classrooms will also be shown and discussed. The course will also present techniques for finding and using existing resources that support inquiry-based teaching, such as IBL problem sets and assessment methods. The facilitators and participants will discuss a variety of ways IBL materials and practices can be integrated into classrooms at disparate institutions.

This course is sponsored by IBL SIGMAA.

Minicourse #7. A Short Road to the Modern Theory of Integration, presented by Jonathan Lewin, Kennesaw State University; Part A, Thursday, 9:00–11:00 am, and Part B, Saturday, 9:00–11:00 am. Although many members of our community are aware of the existence of the modern Henstock-Kurzweil (HK or gauge) theory of integration, not everyone is familiar with the details. There are some important and excellent texts on this subject such as those by Robert Bartle and by Brian Thomson. These texts do not require any prior knowledge of integration but reading them can require an investment of time and effort. The purpose of this minicourse is to provide a short and simple alternative approach to the theory of HK integration that is designed for people who have a working knowledge of Lebesgue integration on the number line R. The minicourse will provide a booklet in PDF to all participants. The sessions will motivate the participants to embark on a brief study of the theory of HK integration. After introducing HK integration, the minicourse will show that HK integration includes Riemann, Lebesgue, and Newton integration and will demonstrate some of the simple and elegant proof that HK provides for some very sharp forms of the fundamental theorem of calculus.

Minicourse #8. Stats for Data Science, presented by Daniel Kaplan, Macalester College; Part A, Thursday, 1:00 –3:00 pm, and Part B, Saturday, 1:00–3:00 pm. As universities and colleges rush to offer courses and even degree programs in data science, it's fair to wonder whether data science is genuinely new or is merely a rebranding of statistics. This mini-course will introduce participants to important and substantial ways that a statistics course that genuinely engages data science differs from traditional statistics.These include an emphasis on prediction, classification and causality rather than the traditional focus on estimation and significance. During the mini-course, we'll work through both theoretical and computational exercises from a new book, Stats for Data Science (available at https://dtkaplan.github.io/SDS-book/preface.html). The workshop is appropriate for anyone from a newcomer to statistical computing to experts. Some small groups in the mini-course will choose to use mouse-driven "Little Apps" to display data-science oriented statistical concepts. Others will choose to work with interactive R tutorials based on modern modeling and graphics packages in R. Participants should bring a laptop or tablet. All work will be browser based; there's no need to install new software.

This course is sponsored by SIGMAA on Stat Ed.

Minicourse #9. Combining Mathematical and Computational Thinking in a General Education Math Course, presented by Michelle Friend, Betty Love, Michael Matthews, and Victor Winter, University of Nebraska - Omaha; Part A, Wednesday, 1:00–3:00 pm and Part B, Friday, 1:00–3:00 pm. Alternative mathematics pathways which include elements of computer science and computational thinking can promote equitable access to STEM careers, particularly since discrete math can be accessible to students of varied ability. This minicourse will introduce participants to the curriculum and free web-based tools (at bricklayer.org) used to implement Introduction to Mathematical and Computational Thinking, an innovative general-education mathematics course (supported by NSF Grant #1712080). Participants will receive training on the approach and tools, copies of course materials, and the opportunity to brainstorm ways to creatively inspire students in mathematical and computational thinking. No prior experience required. Participants should bring a laptop to participate fully.

Minicourse #10. Wall to Wall Modeling Scenarios for Differential Equations, presented by Kurt Bryan, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Rosemary Farley, Manhattan College, Patrice Tiffany, Manhattan College, Brian J. Winkel, SIMIODE, and Dina Yagodich, Frederick Community College; Part A, Thursday, 9:00–11:00 am, and Part B, Saturday, 9:00–11:00 am. This minicourse offers participants active experience in using eight Modeling Scenarios from the double-blind, peer reviewed materials in the resource collection found at the SIMIODE Community of Practice www.simiode.org. Time will be devoted to reflection on use in participants’ home setting. We offer this minicourse in support of colleagues who wish to experience modeling activities which can then be used in teaching their differential equations courses. The leadership team of accomplished authors and teachers will demonstrate how one could effectively use a modeling approach in a differential equations course through the classroom simulation the minicourse will offer. In the process of doing the specific modeling activities during the minicourse we will share with participants information and insight into the many resources of the SIMIODE community. Through minicourse participation colleagues will gain confidence in their ability to bring modeling into their own classroom to teach differential equations and expand their network of like-minded colleagues.

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