MAA Panel: Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Mathematics at Two Year Colleges and Similar Institutions, organized by Jennifer Travis, Lone Star College–North Harris, Allison Henrich, Seattle University, and Aaron Wootton, University of Portland; Wednesday, 3:45–5:05 p.m. With widespread recognition of undergraduate research as a high-impact educational practice, and with more resources available for faculty interested in mentoring student research, more people— both faculty and students—want to get involved. REUs and other research programs have historically targeted more advanced students: junior and senior undergraduates. However, it has been demonstrated in a variety of contexts that students in their first two years of college and even high school students are capable of engaging in mathematical research experiences. In particular, there is increasing interest in providing meaningful research experiences for students at community colleges and other non-selective institutions. However, there are unique challenges associated with mentoring students who are less advanced in their mathematical knowledge and maturity. In this session, panelists will address these challenges. For instance, how can a mentor choose appropriate problems for students who have never taken a math course beyond calculus? What additional supports are needed for students in their first two years of college to effectively communicate their results? How does a mix of experience levels affect the group dynamics of student research teams? Panelists are Vinodh Chellamuthu, Dixie State University, Maria Mercedes Franco, Queensborough Community College CUNY, Sandy Ganzell, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and Jonathan Weisbrod, Rowan College at Burlington County. This panel is sponsored by the SIGMAA on UR and the MAA Committee on Two Year Colleges.
MAA Panel: Math Support Centers: The Need for Support, the Student Experience, and the Return on Investment, organized by Alison Reddy, University of Illinois and Ciarán Mac an Bhaird, Maynooth University; Friday, 9:00–10:20 a.m. Institutions across the United States are considering, piloting, or implementing supports to improve the transition to, and success in, gateway mathematics courses, and to ensure students remain on track for their areas of study. Math Support Centers (MSCs) contribute to institutional and state initiatives to increase success rates in math courses and to national initiatives to increase STEM majors. Bressoud and Rasmussen highlight the importance of proactive student support services in their “Seven Characteristics of Successful Calculus Programs”. The role of MSCs is not always clearly defined, formally regulated or established in a consistent and formalized manner some US institutions. This panel will consider international best practice in MSC provision, including MSC networks, and how they might inform US institutions, though educational structures differ. We will explore the need for, and varying types of, MSCs at 4-year institutions. We will have conversations regarding the importance of formalized and institutionally supported MSCs and discuss the key characteristics of successful MSCs: dedicated spaces, a welcoming environment, a director or supervisor, data collection, data informed practices, evaluation, and quality support with accountability. Panelists are Duncan Lawson, Coventry University, Melissa Mills, Oklahoma State University, Michael Grove, University of Birmingham, Michael Schuckers, St. Lawrence University, and Grace Coulombe, Bates College.
MAA Panel: What Have We Learned? Lessons Gleaned from Transitioning to Online Teaching, organized by Rena Levitt, John Levitt, and Lucas Tambasco, Minerva Schools at KGI; Saturday, 9:00-10:20 a.m. Most educators encountered challenges as their educational institutions transitioned to online teaching in response to the novel coronavirus. Transitioning to teaching remotely required our community to rethink many aspects of mathematics instruction. Among the key challenges were determining which aspects of a course should be asynchronous and which need to be synchronous, along with developing effective pedagogical strategies for each, keeping students actively engaged in their learning, and implementing strategies to authentically assess student learning students and provide useful formative feedback. During this session, panelists reflect on how our community has addressed these challenges, and how we can apply what we have learned to all mathematics courses, both virtual and otherwise. Panelists are Jennifer French, Digital Learning Specialist/MIT Math Department, Mark Huber, Claremont McKenna College, and Dina Yagodich, Frederick Community College.