Recent Perspectives on Mathematical Education

Wednesday, June 16 at 11:30am (PDT)
Wednesday, June 16 at 07:30pm (BST)
Thursday, June 17 03:30am (KST)

SMB2021 SMB2021 Follow Wednesday (Thursday) during the "MS14" time block.
Note: this minisymposia has multiple sessions. The second session is MS13-EDUC (click here).

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Stacey Smith? (The University of Ottawa, Canada)


This minisymposium will bring together educators to examine up-to-the-minute problems that showcase the usefulness and applicability of mathematical education in the world of online teaching. The minisymposium draws on educators across a variety disciplines. The education minisympsium is a mainstay of SMB meetings, and Education is a key component of translational science, creating pathways for a new generation of thinkers. This minisymposium is also focused on diversity, with speakers from a broad range of backgrounds, genders and topics.

Elissa Schwartz

(Washington State University, USA)
"Remedying the Leaky Pipeline"
Diversity is crucial for the success of mathematical biology education initiatives. Cultural and gender diversity among educators and researchers allows for the contribution of a wider range of ideas in mathematical biology education and research. Many trainees from historically underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds, however, disappear along their educational path. The loss of women scientists along the career path is common in academic systems around the world; this phenomenon has been described as the ‘Leaky Pipeline.’ It begins at early stages and continues throughout the career trajectory, gradually resulting in a small proportion of women researchers in STEM fields. To begin to remedy this issue, we conducted a virtual international workshop to connect women from underrepresented backgrounds to career advancement opportunities in STEM. In this project, we created a forum to uncover and break down barriers to progress along STEM careers experienced by women from underrepresented backgrounds. This professional development workshop contained 3 parts: a plenary talk and discussion, in which a guest speaker presented her inspirational story of her career journey; a discussion of challenges faced by participants that need to be overcome to take the next step in their STEM career development; and ‘mentoring pod’ small groups discussions (matching participant trainees with mentors in groups of 4-5 in breakout rooms) to target specific issues and facilitate development of participants’ mentoring networks. The event was attended by individuals from eleven countries: Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, Nepal, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Trinidad & Tobago, and the US. Data collected from this event (on challenges identified, solutions suggested, networks formed, and scholarship opportunities) will be used to identify which interventions actually work to mend the Leaky Pipeline, and to design similar programs in the future. Such efforts will be needed to improve retention rates in STEM, particularly among historically underrepresented groups.

Suzanne Lenhart

(University of Tennessee at Knoxville, USA)
"BioCalculus Assessment Tool"
The development and initial validity assessment of the BioCalculus Assessment (BCA) will be presented. This 20-question test was designed with the goal of comparing undergraduate life science students’ understanding of calculus concepts in different courses with alternative application emphases. The analysis of scores involved three populations (Calculus 1, Calculus 2 and Biocalculus) for which the Calculus 1 and 2 students were not exposed to applications in a life science setting while the Biocalculus students were presented concepts with a life science emphasis. Our findings show that the BCA provides a tool to assess the relative learning success and calculus comprehension of undergraduate biology majors from alternative methods of instruction.

Amanda Laubmeier

( Texas Tech University, USA)
"Application-driven projects in differential equation and modelling courses"
Projects offer the flexibility for students to explore course material and their own understanding. Application-based projects can also reinforce connections between course material and students' interests. In this presentation, we discuss some attempts at short- and long-term projects for undergraduates. The projects are drawn from differential equations and modelling courses, and emphasis is placed on project design to encourage student creativity and exploration.

Stacey Smith?

(The University of Ottawa, Canada)
"Teaching While Trans"
Gender transitioning is on the rise among students, but it’s also happening among faculty too. This talk defines some transgender basics and highlights some of the challenges faced in mid-career academia as a result of transitioning from male to female. These include name changes and publications, university and online journal bureaucracies and interactions with students and colleagues. Finally, tips will be provided on how to be a good trans ally and small but helpful changes that can be made in the classroom to make the environment more inclusive.

Hosted by SMB2021 Follow
Virtual conference of the Society for Mathematical Biology, 2021.