JMM 2018

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. Introduction to Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) in Mathematics Courses, presented by Catherine Beneteau, University of South Florida, Jill E. Guerra, University of Arkansas Fort Smith and Laurie Lenz, Marymount University; Part A, Wednesday, 9:00–11:00 am, and Part B, Friday, 9:00–11:00 am. This workshop-style minicourse will introduce faculty to the guided inquiry instructional method called POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning). Participants will use hands-on activities to learn the crucial elements in a successful POGIL classroom. In particular, the workshop will provide participants with an introduction to facilitation techniques and an opportunity to reflect on how facilitation can enhance or interfere with student learning, as well as how facilitation strategies can be critical in the development of student process skills. The participants will have the opportunity to examine a POGIL Calculus I activity and be introduced to the way the learning structure that is integrated into all POGIL activities is implemented in a mathematics specific activity. By the end of the course, participants will be familiar with the basics of the particular approach to guided inquiry that POGIL takes, and will be trained to begin implementing guided inquiry activities in their own mathematics classrooms.

Minicourse #2. Teaching Introductory Statistics Using the Guidelines from the American Statistical Association, presented by Carolyn K. Cuff, Westminster College; Part A, Wednesday, 9:00–11:00 am, and Part B, Friday, 9:00–11:00 am. This minicourse, intended for instructors new to teaching statistics, exposes participants to the big ideas of statistics and the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education recommendations. It considers ways to engage students in statistical thinking, and emphasizes the contrast between conceptual and procedural understanding in the first statistics course. Participants will engage in many of the classic activities that all statistics instructors should know. A set of approximately 6 - 8 hands-on classroom-ready activities will be given to participants. The activities have been chosen so that they require minimal adaptation for a wide variety of classrooms, use freely available applets and other software and are easy to implement. Each activity includes goals, key ideas, prerequisite skills and concepts, connection to other statistical concepts, objectives, known student difficulties and assessment questions. Internet sources of real data, activities, and best practices articles will be examined. Participants will find out how they can continue to learn about the best practices for the first course in Statistics by becoming involved in statistics education related conferences, newsletters, and groups. This course is sponsored by the SIGMAA on Statistics Education (SIGMAA STAT ED).

Minicourse #3. Flipping your Mathematics Course using Open Educational Resources, presented by Sarah Eichhorn, University of California, Irvine, David Farmer, American Institute of Mathematics, Jim Fowler, The Ohio State University and Petra Taylor, Dartmouth University; Part A, Wednesday, 2:15–4:15 pm, and Part B, Friday, 1:00–3:00 pm. The flipped classroom is an instructional strategy in which instructional content is delivered outside of class (often online) and classroom time is utilized for activities traditionally done as homework. Open educational resources (OERs) are openly licensed, online course materials that can be freely used by instructors and students. Participants in this minicourse will learn to design a flipped mathematics course using OERs. The minicourse will be run in a flipped instructional style, allowing participants to experience learning in this format and see a variety of implementation techniques.

Upon completion of this minicourse, participants will be able to apply best practices in flipped classroom design, identify appropriate OER materials for their mathematics courses, design assessments to check for knowledge of pre-class content, facilitate an active, problem-solving based classroom session, and utilize OER materials from the Curated Courses project and provide meaningful feedback for the continuous improvement of these community resources.

Minicourse #4. How to Run Successful Math Circles for Students and Teachers, presented by Jane Long, Stephen F. Austin State University, Brianna Donaldson, American Institute of Mathematics, Gabriella Pinter, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Diana White, University of Colorado Denver and National Association of Math Circles; Part A, Wednesday, 2:15–4:15 pm, and Part B, Friday, 1:00–3:00 pm. Math Circles are a unique form of outreach through which mathematics professionals share their passion for mathematics with K-12 students and teachers. During a Math Circle, participants explore, create and communicate substantive mathematics, increase their problem-solving skills, and perhaps most importantly, develop a deeper enjoyment of the subject. Including all types of Math Circles, there are currently over 250 Math Circles across the United States. In this minicourse, participants will experience Math Circle activities and discuss related topics including effective facilitation of sessions, recruiting, logistics, and successful Math Circle models. Participants should be well on their way to starting their own Math Circle after this course. This course is sponsored by the SIGMAA on Math Circles for Students and Teachers (SIGMAA MCST).

Minicourse #5. Reach the World: Writing Math Op-Eds for a Post-Truth Culture, presented by Kira Hamman, Pennsylvania State University, Mont Alto and Francis Su, Harvey Mudd College; Part A, Wednesday, 2:15–4:15 pm, and Part B, Friday, 1:00–3:00 pm The degeneration of public discourse and the proliferation of fake news is cause for great concern among people who value facts, evidence, and civility. As mathematicians, we are in a unique position to combat this troubling trend with quantitative information, but to be effective we need to be able to reach a general audience. One way to do that is by writing opinion for popular print and online media. Learn to choose compelling topics and angles, distill relevant quantitative information, write at an appropriate level, and get your work into the hands of people who will publish it. Participants will also draft an opinion piece during this minicourse.

Minicourse #6. Directing Undergraduate Research, presented by Aparna Higgins, University of Dayton; Part A, Thursday, 9:00–11:00 am, and Part B, Saturday, 9:00–11:00 am. This minicourse is designed for faculty who are new to directing undergraduate research. It will cover many aspects of facilitating research by undergraduates, such as getting students involved in research, finding appropriate problems, deciding how much help to provide, and presenting and publishing the results. Similarities and differences between research conducted during summer programs and research that can be conducted during the academic year will be discussed. Although the examples used will be primarily in the area of discrete mathematics, the strategies discussed can be applied to any area of mathematics.

Minicourse #7. Starter Kit for Teaching Modeling-First Differential Equations Course, presented by Brian Winkel, SIMIODE, Cornwall, NY, Rosemary Farley, Manhattan College, Therese Shelton, Southwestern University, Patrice Tiffany, Manhattan College and Holly Zullo, Westminster College; Part A, Thursday, 9:00–11:00 am, and Part B, Saturday, 9:00–11:00 am. We offer this minicourse in support of colleagues who wish to start using rich modeling resources to teach differential equations. Our method uses actual experience with classroom materials and discussions on how to initiate such practices in participants’ courses. We put participants in the role of students early in a differential equations course in which modeling is the driving force. We offer tested and successful modeling scenarios which engage students and bring forth differential equation notions and concepts through modeling.

Minicourse #8. Teaching Statistics using R and RStudio, presented by Randall Pruim, Calvin College; Part A, Thursday, 9:00–11:00 am, and Part B, Saturday, 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. But can it be used with students? This minicourse will introduce participants to teaching applied statistics courses using computing in an integrated way. The presenter has been using R to teach statistics to undergraduates at all levels for the last decade and will share an approach and some favorite examples. Topics will include workflow in the RStudio environment, providing novices with a powerful but manageable set of tools, data visualization, basic statistical inference using R, and resampling. Much of this will be facilitated using the mosaic package. The minicourse is designed to be accessible to those with little or no experience 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 to the session. Each participant will be given access to and RStudio server account, so it is not necessary to have R or RStudio installed on the laptop. A web browser and internet capability should suffice. This course is sponsored by the SIGMAA on Statistics Education (SIGMAA STAT ED).

Minicourse #9. Teaching Undergraduate Mathematics via Primary Source Projects, presented by Diana White, University of Colorado Denver, Janet Barnett, Colorado State University–Pueblo, Kathy Clark, Florida State University, Dominic Klyve, Central Washington University, Jerry Lodder, New Mexico State University and Danny Otero, Xavier University Part A, Thursday, 1:00–3:00 pm and Part B, Saturday, 1:00–3:00 pm. Mathematics faculty and educational researchers are increasingly recognizing the value of the history of mathematics as a support to student learning. Despite these benefits, there are significant challenges to incorporating primary sources directly into the classroom. This mini-course will introduce participants to an approach which brings history into the mathematics classroom via guided reading projects based on original sources. Participants will have the opportunity to experience this teaching avenue by placing themselves in the role of student as they work together in groups through two specific projects. Following this opportunity to grapple with original sources within a guided reading format, participants will discuss how to implement these Primary Source Projects (PSPs) projects in the undergraduate mathematics classroom. An overview of the general pedagogical benefits of this particular approach to using original sources with students will also be provided. Finally, participants will learn about a seven-institution, ongoing collaborative NSF-funded effort that is designing, testing, and researching the impact of over 50 newly-developed PSPs, including opportunities for instructors to receive ongoing implementation support by becoming a site-tester. This course is sponsored by the SIGMAA on the History of Mathematics (HOM SIGMAA).

Minicourse #10. Incorporating Mathematical and Statistical Forensics Activities into the Undergraduate Mathematics Classroom, presented by Eugene Fiorini, James Russell, and Gail Marsella, Muhlenberg College; Part A, Thursday, 1:00–3:00 pm, and Part B, Saturday, 1:00–3:00 pm. Participants will learn about incorporating mathematical and statistical forensic activities into their classrooms, discuss how to coordinate with other STEM departments, and will conduct some activities themselves. The workshop will have three sections: (1) a short overview of curricular goals, what is forensic science, how to coordinate with other STEM fields, and how forensic activities can enhance student learning; (2) activities and discussions in small groups on specific projects including blood spatter analysis, print analysis, estimating time of death, cyber and environmental forensics, among others; and (3) a conclusion including a discussion on a final exam staged crime scene.

Minicourse #11. Authoring Integrated Online Textbooks with MathBook XML, presented by Karl-Dieter Crisman, Gordon College and Mitchel T. Keller, Washington and Lee University; Part A, Thursday, 1:00–3:00 pm, and Part B, Saturday, 1:00–3:00 pm. In this minicourse participants will learn how to effectively author online textbooks with the AIM-sponsored MathBook XML (MBX,, as well as to begin creating their materials such as lab manuals or formal course notes with this tool. The idea is to harness the power of embedded online interaction, including WeBWorK problems, Sage computational cells, and extensive hyperlinking to have online (and print) texts in subjects from Calculus to Abstract Algebra. After learning the basics, participants will try their hands at creating a small supplement to one of their own classes using MBX, experiencing the “write once, read anywhere” philosophy that creates output in print, pdf, web pages, and computational notebooks. In both cases, the presenters’ own texts (one in discrete math, one in number theory) will be used as case studies of how to create a project like this or to convert an existing LaTeX or html project. No previous experience with any of these tools is necessary; you should be ready to try a few necessary command line tools. You will need to bring a wireless-enabled laptop, and will receive instructions regarding software in pre-workshop correspondence.