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 spaced it (for a second time) so … someone will just have to invite me to give the talk somewhere where it will be recorded. 🙂

Here’s the description of the talk …

Have you ever dreamed of teaching a pre-calculus level course where the algebraic manipulation is de-emphasized and the emphasis is shifted to conceptual understanding and practical skills that directly apply to transfer classes? Learn how your wishes can come true by making simple changes around curriculum, pedagogy, and technology.

Goals or outcomes:

  • Reframe the modernized pre-calculus curriculum as a super valuable course for students because of the help it can provide to other math-intensive courses rather than just a calculus prep course.
  • See algebraic manipulation through the perspective of today’s world and technological resources.
  • Understand how the calculus course has to shift to take an influx of “algebraic manipulation lite” students
  • Learn how simple (free) technology like Desmos can transform student attitudes and empower students to do their own data analysis (in all their courses)
  • Practical aspects of allowing phone-based and computer-based technology in class (as it relates behavior management and assessment)
  • Go over the practical structure of a typical day of class, incorporating active learning and very little lecture
  • Discuss how corequisite courses could be used to teach the algebraic manipulation alongside the algebra-lite course or calculus