Please note: From speaking with faculty in the prerequisite coureses, they are incorporating reviews of rules of exponents and fractions. But, at what detail and how, I am unsure. Hopefully with the creation of SLOs and having Guided Pathways, we can come up with some activities and best practices as a group to help students understand these two concepts better. I am not happy with the idea of just accepting that students will not be able to integrate a fractional problem that requires rules of exponents. There has to be something out there to help our students be successful with this.
In fall 2010, I wrote a workbook to replace the $250 textbook. Please note: I do not receive royalties from this workbook. The workbook (wb) was used in the calculus/physics learning community as well as traditional calculus classes by me only. Over the years, I have made modification to the wb. As I became more comfortable with the flow of the course, changing my pedagogy and curriculum because of what I have learned from Dwain and Angela in the learning community, and really starting to grasp where students struggle and why, I adjusted the workbook.
As a math instructor at EMCC for 16 years, I have always believed students must practice. They have to do 20+ problems outside of class in order to be able to DO problems on exams/quizzes. From working with physics and chemsitry faculty over the years and seeing what they do with journals, I have been hesitant to try this. "Math is different. Math is skill based, and you don't get good at this unless you practice over and over again," I would think to myself. It took me 16 years to get to this "aha" moment, and I am so excited about this.
Not all faculty have the time or nor want to teach in the calculus/physics learning community. So, how do we help faculty who teach stand alone calculus courses? Also, stand alone calculus courses do not have another instructor present to help emphasize concepts. So, Becky is teaching a stand alone calculus course in Fall 18 to see if she can cut down on some competencies, incorporate labs, and she will compare her course to other instructors who teach non-learning community calculus courses. Did Becky's class perform the same, worse or better on the common final? If worse, why?
The purpose of this CATS is to document a qualitative review on my experience in the 2nd semester calculus/physics learning community (MAT231/PHY131). Second semester physics covers charges, electric and magnetic fields, circuits, current (etc), and these concepts have been quite difficult for me to grasp and tie into calculus without Dwain’s help. The attached narrative provides my previous experiences, current experience, and plan for the future .
Need: Streamline 1st 4 weeks of Differential Equations. Create clearer expectations, journal instructions, MATLAB directions, problem sets, and activities. Alleviate student confusion.
For many years now, physics/chemistry faculty require students to journal after each class period (note: there are other faculty on campus who have been journaling for years, as well). In Fall 2017, a few non-phy/chem faculty incorporated journaling in their classrooms for the first time. In Spring 2018, during week of accountability, approximately 15 instructors met and discussed best practices in journaling.
My students always seem to be intimidated by the word exam. I wanted to see what and why this happens. I gave the students a "practice problem" on graphing functions based on algebra and calculus ideas. They were not allowed to work on it together, however I did not call it an exam. I wanted to see how they did knowing it was not an exam. The students performance on the "practice" was outstanding. There were small errors in the algebra but the overall concept was near perfect. Out of two sections, a total of 53 students, everyone scored 90% or better.
For the last 2 years, I have been using a question of the day to start my classes as part of a cooperative learning strategy learned from taking the Johnson & Johnson Cooperative Learning workshop. After doing this for a a year, I wanted to get feedback from students, so I included items about the questions of the day (along with other cooperative activities) on my end of course evaluation.
A prerequisite to physics is MAT182. Students need to know law of sine/cosine, and vector concepts from trig to be successful in physics. In the past, I would spend a lot of time classify triangles (SSS, ASA, etc) to help students know which "law" to use, and this was done at the end of the semester. I did not spend time using law of sine/cosine with vector applications . Students typically scored a low B on law of sine/cosine problems. In F17, I taught the "laws" and incorporated vectors in week 4 to show students real life applications.