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Emphasizing Teamwork And Communication Skills In Introductory Calculus Courses

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Innovative Instruction Strategies in Calculus

Tagged Division

Mathematics

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

12.598.1 - 12.598.14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--2166

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2166

Download Count

97

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Paper Authors

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Martha Allen Georgia College & State University

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Dr. Martha Allen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. She received her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of South Carolina in 2001. She was selected as a 2001-2002 Project NExT National Fellow. Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a Mathematical Association of America program for new or recent Ph.D.s in mathematics. Dr. Allen is currently serving as co-director of the MAA's Southeastern Section NExT program. In 2005, Dr. Allen was the recipient of the university-wide Excellence in Teaching Award at Georgia College & State University.

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Amy Kelley Georgia College & State University

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Dr. Amy Kelley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. She received an M.A. in mathematics from Boston College in 1997 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the State University of New York at Albany in 2004. She has also been employed as an Operations Research Analyst at Mitre Corporation in Bedford, Massachusetts. More recently, she was selected as a 2005-2006 Project NExT National Fellow. Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a Mathematical Association of America program for new or recent Ph.D.s in mathematics.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Emphasizing Teamwork and Communication Skills in Introductory Calculus Courses

Abstract

It is widely recognized that teamwork and communication skills are important outcomes in undergraduate engineering curricula. At our institution, the program goals in the mathematics department, which apply to our pre-engineering majors, also reflect the necessity of these skills. Student course exit surveys analyzed by the department indicated that communication skills, both written and oral, were not integrated into the introductory courses. In an effort to achieve our program goals, we have implemented team-based as well as individual activities that foster communication skills in our introductory calculus courses. In addition, these activities encourage the students to become active learners and to assume greater responsibility for their learning of mathematics.

We have created both in-class and out-of-class activities to encourage the development of mathematical speaking and writing. Examples of team activities include group problem solving and assessment, assigning groups by related content so that determining the members of the group is itself a team activity, and team take-home exams with oral presentations. These activities promote students’ ability to contribute meaningfully to the functionality of a team. Further, team-based activities serve to deepen mathematical understanding. Individual activities such as differentiation/integration bees, one-minute papers, journals and essays are also utilized in class. The journal and essay topics cultivate student understanding of major content concepts and alert the instructors when student understanding is lacking.

In this paper, we describe in detail the team-based and individual activities used. We will discuss class time-management, student attitudes, motivation challenges, and initial observations of student responses to these activities. We will also include preliminary assessment and reporting of the improvement in students’ mathematical communication skills and teamwork. Finally, we will outline our plans for further investigation of questions raised as a result of teaching with innovative activities designed to encourage teamwork and communication skills while allowing students to take a more active role in the learning of calculus.

Introduction

Teamwork and communication skills are recognized as important outcomes in undergraduate engineering curricula. Accordingly, Criterion 3 of the ABET guidelines states that a student must have an “ability to apply knowledge of mathematics,” an “ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams,” and an “ability to communicate effectively.”1 In addition, the Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM) of the Mathematical Association of America 2004 Curriculum Guide calls for an ability to “read and communicate mathematics with clarity,” “write and speak mathematically,” “contribute effectively to group efforts,” and “communicate mathematics clearly in ways appropriate to career goals.”2

At our institution, Georgia College & State University (GCSU), we have about 90 mathematics

Allen, M., & Kelley, A. (2007, June), Emphasizing Teamwork And Communication Skills In Introductory Calculus Courses Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2166

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