## 25 Years: What (Good) Teaching Looks Like

Michigan Calculus Classroom, early 90s Editors’ note: This is the second of a series of blog posts on the state and history of the University of Michigan’s undergraduate mathematics program. Calculus reform came to Michigan in the early 1990s—closing in on 25 years ago. So this is another installment in a “25 year retrospective.” “…Don’t […]

## The Effect(iveness) of Change

Over the course of last summer we revised our standard “sophomore-level” differential equations course, taken by most engineering students. This is the course which traditionally has been a recipe course in which one learns to categorize all of the different types of differential equations which can be solved by hand while glossing over the fact

## Some linear algebra application ideas

Last Fall, I took over our “Applied Linear Algebra” course. This course is targeted at an audience majoring primarily in either electrical engineering and computer science or else in industrial and operations engineering. I’m not an applied mathematician myself, but I really wanted to get nontrivial applications of Linear Algebra into the curriculum. We did

## 25 Years: Gateway Testing at Michigan

Michigan Calculus Classroom, early 90s Editors’ note: This is the first of a series of blog posts on the state and history of the University of Michigan’s undergraduate mathematics program. Calculus reform came to Michigan in the early 1990s—closing in on 25 years ago. So this is the first installment of a “25 year retrospective.”

## A View of a Room

An alternate title for this might be “what a difference a room makes.” Last semester I taught our general linear algebra course for majors (which is a linear algebra and proof course) in a room with arm desks and a seating capacity that was close to the number of students in the section; this semester

## 35% Contained

When we listen to news of forest fires being fought in California or Montana (or wherever), it seems that there is a running assessment of the containment of the fire. It’s 5% contained, or 35%, and then about the time I am thinking “but that’s only a third,” the fire is resolved and the news

## Promoting confusion… and its resolution

Confusion is traditionally an unwelcome guest in the classroom. It is a problem that the conscientious instructor needs to root out with clear explanations, and if students harbor it we expect bad things to follow. Recently, however, its reputation has been changing. In August, The Chronicle published an article titled “Confuse Students to Help Them

## Documenting Participation

In most courses I’ve experience as a student or as an instructor, there’s been some nominal part of the grade assigned to “participation.” As an instructor, I include this because I want to emphasize the importance of students’ in-class work, in particular the verbal work of mathematical discourse. The classes I teach happen to be

## The Storm Before the Calm

This year, as I have for a while, I had the pleasure of working with our new instructor training program in the last week of August. And this year, as I have for a while, I found it to be the effort of the semester in condensed form. This week runs at an entirely different

## Learning Math “Matrix” Style

This past week I participated in the Department’s placement and advising of incoming LSA international transfer students.  Due to visa issues, these students are among the last to participate in summer orientation.  This year there were about 160 international transfer students, most of them from China.  I very much enjoy working with these enthusiastic, bright, jet-lagged