Teaching Mathematics with Online Materials

Lawrence C. Moore and David A. Smith, Duke University

June 26-28, 2001 in Durham, NC

The World Wide Web offers lots of teaching and learning materials in all disciplines, with wide ranges of types and of quality. The National Science Foundation has made an investment in infrastructure for the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and is now investing in content for the library. A grant to the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) supports the Mathematical Sciences Digital Library component (MathDL), which will be well under way by the summer of 2001. This course will give participants a hands-on opportunity to explore a variety of high-quality materials and to learn ways to incorporate them into undergraduate mathematics courses. The course will be presented in Duke's Interactive Computer Classroom (ICC), a studio classroom that facilitates small group activities and discussions, as well as state-of-the-art access to the Web and other technologies.

Topics to be covered include a survey of available materials, both in MathDL and elsewhere; use of online materials with a computer algebra system, such as Maple or Mathematica; samples of materials from Duke's Connected Curriculum Project; course organization and delivery via Blackboard CourseInfo; teaching an entire course without a textbook; and effective teaching strategies in a computer-based environment, including group work, writing, varied forms of assessment, and mixed grading strategies. Not everything in this course can be implemented immediately in every classroom, but the course will give a broad-brush look at possibilities for mathematics education in the 21st century. Participants will be able to find, evaluate, and use quality materials for better stimulation of student learning of mathematics.

For college teachers of: mathematics. Prerequisites: familiarity with a web browser; also helpful, but not required: familiarity with a computer algebra system.

Drs. Moore and Smith are associate professors of mathematics at Duke University, each with two year's experience teaching in the ICC. They are both participants in the MathDL project (Moore as Principal Investigator and Smith as editor of the library's scholarly journal) and co-directors of the NSF-funded Connected Curriculum Project, as well as its predecessor, Project CALC. Both have been leaders for more than a decade in efforts to reform undergraduate education in mathematics, and they have presented many workshops on calculus reform, educational uses of technology, writing to learn, and effective active-learning strategies.

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