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Teaching Tricks, Techniques and Discoveries -- Share what works for you!

Everyone who spends time in a classroom discovers certain techniques, approaches or "tricks" that improve their teaching. Share what you have learned with your colleagues. Whether it is a great idea for teaching a topic or an entire course, or even a successful philosophy that has improved your teaching across the board, we want to know what you know.
Jeffrey Stuart
  • Nick Lassonde*, Klamath Community College
    Even undergraduate students can create websites with beautiful mathematics displays. MathJax is a free tool that can be used to render math on web pages, and CodeCogs is a free online equation editor with LaTeX translation and HTML embedding of images. Teach your students how to create their own websites with fully-rendered math using MathJax, CodeCogs, and free hosting sites. This simple-to-use technique empowers students to create more than they ever imagined and can spark an interest in learning more about how technology works.
    Time: Saturday, April 2, 2016 - 13:45
    Room Number: STAG 163
  • Kristin Lassonde*, Klamath Community College
    Email is not always the most effective way to reach our students. To improve instructor-student rapport and ultimately student success, consider implementing alternate methods of contact in your classes. Google Voice for texting and social media for other messaging are two powerful tools available for free which you could start using today! Stop sending unanswered emails and start actually communicating!
    Time: Saturday, April 2, 2016 - 14:05
    Room Number: STAG 163
  • John Hossler*, Seattle Pacific University
    While the word "gamification" may sound like it means playing games in class, it means something entirely different: the infusion of game principles into an otherwise non-game situation. Gamification is the addition of game elements, mechanics, and principles to non-game contexts--the classroom, for example. Gamified settings are becoming more and more popular in non-classroom contexts, and this research specifically looks at what it might take to gamify an undergraduate STEM course, including advantages, disadvantages, and challenges.
    Time: Saturday, April 2, 2016 - 14:25
    Room Number: STAG 163
  • Jean Marie Linhart*, Central Washington University
    Students often don't master required prerequisite material in foundational courses, and then they struggle in later courses that require mastery of earlier concepts. To move students towards mastery learning and full proficiency, I implemented Standards Based Grading in Discrete Mathematics, requiring them to fully master certain areas in order to pass the class. Students can retake evaluations as needed to pass. Their grade is based on the number of learning objectives mastered over the course of the quarter.
    Time: Saturday, April 2, 2016 - 14:45
    Room Number: STAG 163
  • Jeffrey Stuart*, Pacific Lutheran University
    Linear algebra is the often the first math course in which sets play an explicit and fundamental role. Consequently students typically struggle with writing proofs for set-based results. In this talk, I focus on four key strategies to improve student success. 1. Emphasize the role of specific (fully specified) examples as examples to highlight definitions, and, more importantly, as counterexamples to universal statements. 2. Emphasize what a generic element from a set is, how to write one, and what role it plays in proofs about sets. 3. Emphasize the different and noninterchangeable roles of specific examples and generic elements. 4. Thoughtfully tune the sizes of vectors and matrices in problems to focus students on the primary idea at hand. Specifically, use small shapes to encourage students to populate objects and to free students from dealing with the technical complications of large shapes. In contrast, use large shapes to discourage students from employing an entrywise approach, and from populating specific entries in an object. These key strategies will be illuminated by a discussion about spans.
    Time: Saturday, April 2, 2016 - 15:05
    Room Number: STAG 163