The SIGMAA on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education

presents its Seventeenth Annual

Conference on Research in

Undergraduate Mathematics Education

February 27 - March 1, 2014 | Denver, CO

Working Groups will meet on Thursday, February 27 from 8am to 12pm, right before the RUME Conference starts. If you wish to attend one of the Working Groups, please contact one of the Working Group organizers.

Research on College Mathematics Instructor Professional Growth

Returning Working Group
ROOM: Grand Mesa B

Shandy Hauk                                             Jessica Deshler                                             Natasha Speer


Formerly the Working Group for Research on Novice Teachers of College Mathematics, in the last 18 months we have extended the focus of the group to include research on the professional development of all college mathematics instructors regardless of their level of experience or expertise. The group meets online several times per year and recharges at the RUME conference with an on-land meeting. We solicit proposals from researchers in all areas of the professional development of college mathematics instructors across institutional types (e.g., community college, university). This includes, but is not limited to, research on factors that shape instructional practices and the experiences of instructors as they attend to student thinking in their instruction. The group’s goals, historically and as they have evolved, continue to drive the focus of annual meetings. They include interaction that offers (1) informed support and feedback for researchers, (2) opportunities for networking and collaboration among mathematics educators interested in research and development of materials, processes, and theories to support the professional development of collegiate mathematics instructors, (3) continuing discussion of issues central to the field and ways to address them. The intended participants of this group include researchers in all of these areas, whether new to the field, to research in general (early career researchers) or experienced in both. Researchers need not present their work to participate in the group or provide feedback to others. Group meeting time is structured to allow feedback on research projects that are in progress. The working group is not meant to be a forum for presenting completed studies, but rather an opportunity to get feedback from peers on projects in any stage; from the refinement of research questions to study design, data collection and analysis to discussion of venues for future presentation and proposals for funding of projects. We also discuss strategies for sharing our work with the practice-oriented college mathematics instructor professional development community, the needs of the working group, and ways of sustaining collaborations and communication among group participants during the year.




Infinity And Limits In Undergraduate Mathematical Learning
Returning Working Group
ROOM: Chasm Creek B

Rob Ely                                                          Tim Boester


In our fifth meeting of the infinity and limits working 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. Most 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. Each research presentation will be allowed significant opportunities for questions and feedback, but need to be categorized as being at one of the following steps:

  1. Developing a research question from a research topic (and literature in the field)
  2. Determining methodology for answering a particular research question
  3. Refining categories for analysis of collected data
  4. Interpreting the meaning and significance of analyzed data

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.


Issues in Multivariable Calculus: Rates, Representations and Reasoning
New Working Group
ROOM: Chasm Creek A

        Eric Weber                                        Corinne Manogue                                  Aaron Wangberg 


The purpose of this working group is to bring together those interested in the instruction of, and students' reasoning about, topics in multivariable calculus, particularly rate of change and functions across various representations. In recent years, research about students' transitions into multivariable calculus has been given increasing attention, but those interested in this area have not historically coordinated research efforts in a way that builds a significant knowledge base for the field. In response, there are two guiding themes for the working group, both of which are intended to foster discussions and possible collaborations about research in multivariable calculus. The first theme is student thinking and the second is instruction and materials. The session is designed to consider research around both of these themes, particularly in multivariable calculus or closely related courses. These themes will be discussed at many levels, and leverage the expertise of the organizers as well as the participants to create an environment for those considering doing research in this area. The first part of the session will consist of short presentations by selected organizers and participants that highlight research trends and projects in these areas. The second part will consist of an interactive demonstration session in which participants will be able to work with three dimensional surfaces and other manipulatives and consider ways in which these might be used in research about the teaching and learning of multivariable calculus. The third part of the session will be driven by participants, who will be asked to share their experiences studying student learning and the teaching of multivariable calculus. The concluding piece of the working group will highlight possible collaborations between participants, from presentations to research projects.




Working Group on Community College Mathematics Research
Returning Working Group
ROOM: Grand Mesa A

Vilma Mesa                                                    April Strom                                               Irene M. Duranczyk                                     


We will bring together researchers of community college mathematics teaching and learning. Over the past two years we have made progress growing a cadre of community college researchers and establishing an agenda for advancing community college teaching and learning research in mathematics. As a group we have identified and submitted for publication three articles on moving from anecdotal to evidence-based research for community college teaching and learning. We have developed one collaborative research proposal for collecting evidence- based research across the nation, and we are working on developing a second collaborative research proposal for advancing evidence-based professional development activities for community college mathematics faculty. This working group is intended for active scholars in community college mathematics education, new researchers or researchers in other areas who are interested in investigating teaching and learning, and research-practitioners (i.e. community college faculty who have earned, or are in the process of earning, a doctoral degree) who see research and teaching at the community college as their primary focus. The agenda of the Working Group session includes the following activities: (1) provide a summary of the work completed at RUME 2013, including an outline of ongoing plans for continued submission of research commentaries to journals and other outlets; (2) report on and discuss the results of the Institute of Educational Sciences proposal, titled Instructional Qualities in Algebra at Community Colleges and its Relation to Student Success: An Exploration of Variables Among Students, Instructors, and Teaching; (3) discuss and outline plans for ongoing and future collaborations on specific research questions among working group members; (4) generate ideas and topics for advancing a special issue of a research journal focused on community college mathematics education. We anticipate working group outcomes to include: (1) a report for the RUME Proceedings; (2) a report for the research committee of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC); (3) continued collaboration between the professional organizations for community college faculty (MAA, AMATYC, and NCTM); (4) the outline of a special issue of a research journal focused on community college mathematics education; and (5) a cadre of educators to continue engagement in research of community college mathematics education, with specific plans for collaborative research projects, grant proposals, and article submissions throughout the 2014-2015 academic year.