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Thursday, June 23 • 15:00 - 16:00
CON08.01b - A pedagogical intervention in first-year Calculus: An examination of structured writing using partially-populated notes

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Pedagogical innovation in post-secondary mathematics has not progressed at the same rate as other disciplines. Recent poor results in international standardized testing by many countries (including Canada), and high numbers of students failing in post-secondary mathematics (Faridhan, 2013; Scerbina et al., 2013; Strother, Campen, & Grunow, 2013), has created an urgent need to examine post-secondary mathematics pedagogy and, indeed, innovations in student-centred curricula, assessment and teaching practices.


In this research, we explored the use of partially-populated notes (PPNs) in a first-year calculus course. PPNs are lecture notes prepared by the instructor that have strategically placed empty spaces for students to fill-in during the lecture. PPNs allow time savings on low-level concepts/definitions while allowing more time to be spent on high-level concepts and active learning. The concept was studied by Tonkes and colleagues (2009) who found that students’ preferred using PPNs for learning of mathematics; however, this research did not consider student-level outcomes or other variables that might explain student-level achievement. In fact, there is very little evidence that writing in mathematics improves student learning and consequently, one aim of this study was to explore this hypothesis. Student data (grades) were compared between two sections of the same calculus course (one control class and one where PPNs were used as a pedagogical intervention).


A mixed-methods analysis comparing the impact of the PPNs on course-level outcomes as well as the impact of other student-level predictor variables thought to impact achievement in first-year mathematics will be presented and discussed. We will also present results from a qualitative exit survey as well as share examples of PPNs, and discuss as a whole group writing in undergraduate mathematics courses.

Presenters
DK

Donna Kotsopoulos

Dr. Donna Kotsopoulos is a Professor in Education, cross appointed to Mathematics at Wilfrid Laurier University where she directs the Mathematical Brains Lab. She is a former Associate Vice-President Research (acting), Graduate Coordinator, and Associate Dean, an Ontario Certified... Read More →
CW

Chester Weatherby

Dr. Chester Weatherby is a tenure-track (Professional Teaching) Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Wilfrid Laurier University.
DW

Douglas Woolford

Dr. Douglas Woolford is an Associate Professor of Environmetrics in the Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences at Western University.


Thursday June 23, 2016 15:00 - 16:00
UCC 37

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