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Invited Paper Session Abstracts - The MAA Instructional Practices Guide in Action

Thursday, August 2, 3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Plaza Ballroom E, Plaza Building

The goal of the session is to bring the new MAA Instructional Practices (IP) Guide to life for the mathematical community. Talks will demonstrate how members of the community are using the IP Guide in their classroom practice or for professional development.

Martha Abell, Georgia Southern University
Carolyn Yackel, Mercer University

Professional Development for Collegiate Instructors with the MAA Instructional Practices Guide

3:00 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.
Hortensia Soto, University of Northern Colorado

There is a long history of providing professional development (PD) for K-12 mathematics teachers and for the past decade we have begun to see the implementation of PD opportunities for mathematics teaching assistants. Similar opportunities are rare for collegiate mathematics professors. In this presentation, I will share how I am incorporating ideas from the IP Guide with instructors who teach at two- and four-year colleges as part of a 5-year grant. I intend to highlight how the structure of the IP Guide facilitates such PD.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Development via the MAA Instructional Practices Guide

3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.
Gulden Karakok, University of Northern Colorado

The MAA’s study, “The Characteristics of Successful College Calculus Programs” reinforces the importance of the effective training of graduate student teaching assistants (GTAs), which is consistent with prior research. In particular, some research studies pointed to GTAs’ beginning level of mathematics knowledge for teaching, and their possibly novice beliefs about teaching and learning mathematics. Given that lower level mathematics courses (e.g., College Algebra) and Calculus recitations are often taught by GTAs and such courses are stated to be gatekeepers to STEM, how such courses are taught needs careful consideration. In this presentation, I will present a course design that utilized the MAA Instructional Practices (IP) Guide and has potentials to be a professional development for GTAs. Throughout this required one credit course, the ten GTAs read, discussed and implemented ideas from the IP guide, which provides many practical ideas that GTAs can “quickly” employ in their courses. Furthermore, vignettes and practical tips in this document helped to facilitate rich discussions on teaching mathematics among GTAs. Additional activities and teaching frameworks incorporated to enrich the discussions will also be shared at the presentation.

Developing Persistence in Problem Solving in relation to the MAA Instructional Practices Guide

4:00 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.
Angie Hodge, Northern Arizona University

In order to implement many of the suggestions provided in the MAA Instructional Practices Guide, an instructor has to teach students how to be persistent when faced with mathematical tasks. Due to fixed mindsets that many students have about mathematics, this can be challenging. Ideas will be provided in this session on how to foster a learning atmosphere that encourages mathematical persistence in alignment with the IP Guide. Techniques for encouraging persistence in mathematics will be shared for a range of students such as pre-service teachers and STEM majors.

Paired Board Work is Definitely Not Bored Work

4:30 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
April D. Strom, Scottsdale Community College

Increasing student engagement in the classroom is essential for increasing students’ ability to problem solve, construct mathematical arguments, and critique the reasoning of others. An effective active learning strategy, called paired board work, provides students the opportunity to learn from their peers in a structured environment. Students enjoy having the opportunity to gain perspectives from other students on mathematical tasks and discover other methods for completing these tasks. This session will engage the audience in experiencing a sample enactment of a paired board work exercise.

Five Essential Elements for Cooperative Learning described in the MAA Instructional Practices Guide

5:00 p.m. - 5:20 p.m.
James A. Mendoza Álvarez, The University of Texas at Arlington

Increasingly, research findings indicate that enhanced learning in the classroom occurs when students are engaged or active in their learning. Using cooperative learning strategies can be one way of fostering student engagement. As described in the MAA Instructional Practices Guide, there are five basic elements essential for successful cooperative learning. I will present examples that build upon cooperative learning strategies presented in the guide and highlight how these examples incorporate these basic elements. I will also discuss ways that instructors can tweak their teaching practice to incorporate these strategies aimed at increasing student engagement in the classroom.