Mathematics & Statistics Seminars
Northern Arizona University

Teaching Showcase

The Teaching Showcase provides an opportunity for professional development focused on the best practices of teaching. It is our hope that all attendees will learn from the expertise of their colleagues and be in a state of continuous improvement in the classroom as an instructor. These talks will be especially helpful to those new to teaching, providing support and useful ideas for their classrooms. The Teaching Showcase meets 3-4 times each semester.

The Department of Mathematics & Statistics takes pride in the overall quality of instruction and the amount of scholarly teaching that occurs. The department is engaged in a number of student-centered initiatives, which you can read about here.

Schedule for Fall 2014

Note that talks are listed in reverse chronological order.

A discussion about inquiry-based learning (part 1)

Date: November 19, 2014

Speaker: Dana Ernst

Abstract: In many mathematics classrooms, “doing mathematics” means following the rules dictated by the teacher, and “knowing mathematics” means remembering and applying these rules. However, an inquiry-based-learning (IBL) approach challenges students to create/discover mathematics. Boiled down to its essence, IBL is a method of teaching that engages students in sense-making activities. Rather than showing facts or a clear, smooth path to a solution, the instructor guides students via well-crafted problems through an adventure in mathematical discovery. In this talk, we will address the following questions: What is IBL? Why use IBL? What are some of the challenges of IBL? How can you incorporate more IBL into the classes that you teach? In addition, I will relay my personal experience and discuss how I came to IBL and where I plan to go with it. Time permitting, we will also discuss a few different examples of what an IBL classroom might look like in practice. [Slides]

All Flipped Out

Date: October 15, 2014

Speakers: Ellie Kennedy and Amy Rushall

Abstract: Have you heard of the flipped classroom and want to know what it is? Have you ever thought of bringing it to your class but you don’t know what that would look like? Ellie Kennedy and Amy Rushall will lead you through their idea of a flipped classroom for different NAU math classes summarizing some “do’s” and “don’ts”.

Academic Rigor: Grade Inflation. Are we guilty?

Date: September 24, 2014

Speakers: Terry Blows and Brent Burch (presentation by Terry Blows)

Abstract: The good news is that under pressure from the administration the last few years have seen a decline in the DFW rates of some of our high-enrollment classes. But has this been achieved through improved student learning or through a greater generosity of grading?

This interactive session is intended to provide instructors with food for thought on assessment practices and the assignment of course grades. We will explore what each of us actually does and the consequences of some of our actions. Faculty at the beginning of their careers and Graduate Teaching Assistants teaching in Adel for the first time are especially welcome, together with those old timers who still have much to learn. The latter group includes the presenter(s) who hope to gain insight from others.