Author: busynessgirl

Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra

Today’s talk from AMATYC was “Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra” (to lessen the heretical title slightly I will tell you I’m advocating for taking *some* of the algebra out of College Algebra). The goal of the talk is to help faculty redevelop a math program so that it de-emphasizes algebraic manipulation can be daunting. Faculty will leave this talk with both a vision for the nirvana they want (the long-term goal) and small, executable steps they can take right now to work towards that goal. I meant to record the audio for the talk but I completely...

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Understand in learning objectives – it’s the forest, not the trees

If you’re a faculty member, you can probably tell me all about the first time an instructional designer said to you “You can’t use the word ‘understand’ in a learning objective.” And it probably made you mad. The oft-cited reason to avoid “understand” is because “You can’t measure it.” And this is where I’d like to take issue with Instructional Design 101.  Can you always measure an “understand” learning objective? No. Can you sometimes measure an “understand” learning objective? Yes. And it really comes down to the definition you use. understand: mental comprehension of a topic understand: demonstrated comprehension...

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Reimagining Calculus Keynote

Yesterday I gave the keynote at the Reimagining Calculus Conference held at Stevens Institute of Technology. I was able to record the audio/slides from my laptop. So if you want to revisit the talk or share it with colleagues, you can. This may very well be the talk remembered for “Maria blowing up factoring” (a bit controversial) and the themes from the talk were revisited throughout the day in the other talks and panel. Possibly Related Posts: Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens ESIL: A Learning Lens for the Digital Age Bringing the Real World to Your...

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Group Exploration in Math

I am often asked how to get learners to spend more time “exploring” in their learning rather than just recalling or responding to specific prompts for information. Exploration of the learning space is particularly important because learners find the interesting nooks and crannies of the concepts that they would not otherwise discover. Let me share an example. Yesterday in class we needed to spend more time on exponential functions. I began class by displaying a graph of y=2^x and asking the class specific questions like “The graph of an exponential function has an asymptote, where is it?” Only to...

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Adjuncts shouldn’t have to fix a broken system

For 10 years I taught as a full-time professor at a community college. My loads were between 4-4-0 and 5-5-4, depending on the year. Typically I had 2-4 preps each semester. With a PhD and two Master’s degrees my hourly wage was somewhere around $40/hr if I truly worked a 40-hour week and I received health care and retirement benefits on top of that. Realistically, benefits probably made my hourly wage more like $60/hr, but then working 60-hour weeks brought it back to about $40/hr. I left academia in 2012 to pursue a career in the corporate world, and...

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