What Goes Around Comes Around, Teaching Edition

This spring, I will be teaching something a bit different. I will still be teaching mathematics online for UMUC, but I will also be teaching MSA 600 — Foundations of Research Methods in Administration, as part of the Master of Science in Administration (MSA) program at Central Michigan University. This short course (six weeks) focuses on research techniques for management, with the following objectives: Determine administrative issues and topics that can be researched within the private, public and not-for profit sectors. Identify, collect, evaluate, and synthesize research and professional literature to draw and support conclusions and make recommendations. Identify, evaluate,

My New Math Assignment Rubric

Two years after I wrote my big grading rubric in our Desire2Learn platform, it has become increasingly clear it is insufficient for effective grading. That’s not to say it is bad, but it is both too complicated and too simple to work. The biggest problem with it is that it is too subjective. The default comments do not align with actual issues, often, and the whole thing just needs updated. I was recently talking to a former high school math teacher and he told me about his old grading rubic. It’s far simpler, but it directly and objectively quantifies the

So I Am Not Teaching Calculus After All

Well, no sooner had I posted my note about teaching calculus again this fall when UMUC changed my schedule. This is not unusual for me (though I may be unusual in this regard at UMUC, it’s a bit unclear). I occasionally end up getting put in other classes than planned at the last minute. Part of this stems from the fact I have taught almost the entire undergraduate mathematics curriculum, and part of it is I just don’t mind the challenge of something good new. This fall, I will be teaching MATH 115 Precalculus. I have taught precalc several times

An Accidental Math Professor

I was doing an interview recently on how much mathematics is necessary for a graduate. This is all sort of prompted by Andrew Hacker’s book, The Math Myth, but more on that in a later post. I realized, the story of how I became a math professor is kind of surreal. So I wanted to share it. Back in April 2010, I am minding my own business (or, let’s just assume so), when I got an email saying “Thank you for expressing your interest in teaching at the University of Maryland University College…” and asking for a transcript and references.

It’s on the Syllabus

This morning, Thomas Leeper writes in his blog about the redundancy of the syllabus and how so many young professors are forced to reinvent the wheel every term: That nearly all departments offer a similar set of courses and that each of those courses is nearly identical to its analogue at other institutions, reflects a relatively broad consensus over what “political science” is and what students ought to know after completing a degree in the field. Our individual efforts might suggest some fundamental creativity that breaks us away from that shared understanding of the discipline, but often such efforts lead