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Using Game Theory to Foster Inquiry and Writing

Jennifer Nordstrom*, Linfield College (Faculty)
Talk Abstract: 
Linfield College requires an Inquiry Seminar of all first-year students. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to academic discourse through writing. As the course title suggests, it motivates writing as a means of posing interesting questions and providing reasoned arguments to answer these questions. Faculty members from all disciplines teach Inquiry Seminars, focusing on themes they find particularly interesting. Although undergraduate mathematics, as a discipline, may seem miles away from undergraduate writing, especially in first-year courses, this talk will focus on the success of a first-year writing course with the theme of mathematical game theory. Mathematics provides a robust framework for students to explore questions of rationality, value, cooperation, and societal versus individual good. Such questions can engage students with wide-ranging interests and backgrounds in mathematics. We will discuss how educational approaches familiar to mathematicians coincide with those of writing faculty, and how these pedagogical methods can be used to encourage students to develop habits of inquiry that can apply to all disciplines.
Friday, March 6, 2015 - 10:00