Abstracts for Working Groups

Research on Using Technology as a Research and Formative Assessment Tool in the Calculus Classroom

Location: Chief Poker Jim


Nicole Engelke, California State University, Fullerton

Gulden Karakok, University of Northern Colorado

Aaron Wangberg, Winona State University

The primary purpose of this working group is to bring together researchers interested in investigating how students develop their understanding of calculus concepts using technology. We will share the possibilities of utilizing the open source online homework system WeBWork, and discuss and develop ideas for improving it as a research tool, an instructional tool, and a formative assessment tool within calculus courses. We will keep the discussion open on further extending this system or a similar system. Further, we are open to discussions about how this technology may be extended beyond calculus. The working group is intended for active scholars in undergraduate mathematics education, new researchers who are interested in investigating teaching and learning calculus, and expert researchers and practitioners who have been using or are planning to use technologies similar to WeBWork in their research or courses.

We will share our enhanced WeBWork system that we have been using as a research tool and also present our future development ideas on utilizing it to facilitate meaningful discussions in classroom instruction. The participants will be asked to share their experience teaching with technology, and discuss possible research ideas with other participants using such systems.

Participants do not need to present anything in order to participate and anyone who

wishes to take part in the discussions is welcome to attend.

Working Group for Research on Novice Teachers of College Mathematics

Location: Marshall Joffre


Jason K. Belnap, The University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh

Jessica Deshler, West Virginia University

Shandy Hauk, WestEd and University of Northern Colorado

Natasha Speer, University of Maine

The development of professional skills in the area of college mathematics teaching, particularly for graduate students and beginning faculty, has become an increasingly visible topic in the mathematics community over the past three decades. To optimize the quality and effectiveness of such professional development requires a research base. However, the area is relatively young and many of the researchers are also early in their careers. Consequently, there has been a need for a venue in which researchers could interact with others interested in basic and applied research on novice college mathematics instructor development as well as a space to provide and receive feedback on developing ideas. These needs were left unfilled by existing conference structures so we created a working group for those who share this research interest. The working group pursues three primary goals: (a) to provide critical, informed support and feedback for those conducting research on or about novice teachers of college mathematics; (b) to help mathematics educators connect and collaborate on work about the experiences and professional development of novice college mathematics instructors; (c) to consider over-arching issues related to individual research agendas and to endeavor to contribute to these common concerns. The organizers invite all those who do research or are interested in developing a research program in the area of novice college mathematics instructor development to participate.

Working Group on Research on Community College Mathematics

Location: Eric Hauser


April Strom, Scottsdale Community College (april.strom@sccmail.maricopa.edu)

Ann Sitomer, Portland Community College (asitomer@pcc.edu)

Vilma Mesa, University of Michigan (vmesa@umich.edu)

Mark Yannotta, Clackamas Community College (marky@clackamas.edu)

We seek to bring together researchers interested in investigating questions of

mathematics teaching and learning at community colleges. This is a key area that is

emerging as an important player in the scholarship of post-secondary education. The main goal of the working group is to continue the rich discussions, which began at our working group session at RUME 2011. We aim to continue our focus on setting a research agenda to understand issues of mathematics teaching and learning that are particularly significant when focused on issues unique to community colleges. The working group is intended for active scholars in undergraduate mathematics education, new researchers who are interested in investigating teaching and learning in this context, and researcher-practitioners (i.e., community college faculty who have earned, or are in the process of earning, a doctoral degree) who see research in context and teaching at community colleges as their primary focus. The activities for the Working Group session include the following: (1) providing a summary of the work done at RUME in 2011 and over the course of the year; (2) engaging in a discussion with an invited guest about strategies for moving a research agenda forward; (3) discussing a research grant proposal focused on collecting data of community college teaching and learning led by members of this group, (4) brainstorming future research projects based on the proposed strands in the current research agenda, and (5) planning the next steps for work during the upcoming 2012 year to continue furthering the work of this group. We anticipate the discussion outcomes to generate a report for the RUME Proceedings, a report for the research subcommittee of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges, and a paper for a major journal, outlining this agenda. Participants will also have an opportunity to provide input towards the design and development of a grant proposal (to be submitted to IES in June 2012) focused on investigating the landscape of community college teaching and learning of mathematics.

Infinity and Limits in Undergraduate Mathematical Learning

Location: Sam Hill


Rob Ely, University of Idaho

Timothy Boester, Wright State University

In our third meeting of the infinity and limits group, we will continue to develop and

refine research goals pertaining to the undergraduate learning of infinite processes

(including series and sequences), infinite sets, limits of real-valued functions, and other domains that significantly incorporate limits and infinity. While existing research has substantially charted out misconceptions and obstacles to infinity and limits, there is still great need for further understanding of the functioning of student knowledge of limits and infinity in context, the development of instructional goals and curricular implications, and the building of these ideas into learning trajectories. With these needs in mind, we have organized our research goals along four general themes: (a) the interaction of function and limit, (b) how limits manifest themselves throughout the calculus curriculum, (c) formalization of limit, and (d) mathematizing the “...” Although we plan to pursue these themes, we welcome participants interested in any areas related to limits and infinity. Part of the working group time will be for presentations of completed, ongoing, or preliminary work, with ample time for discussion, analysis, and planning of participants’ research. There will also be time for more informal discussion, so we encourage anyone wishing to discuss their research to contact the working group organizers for time to be reserved in the schedule. Our primary goal for the working group is to nurture collaborative studies and publications based on the vision of all participants in the undergraduate learning of infinity and limits.


All working groups will meet from 8:00am-12:00pm on Thursday, February 23rd. Contact the organizers for information about additional meeting times.


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