MER Abstract

Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 17:05:54 -0400
From: harelb (Harel Barzilai)
Subject: MER Workshop: Abstract for Afternoon Presentation


Below is the Abstract. I'd also like to take this opportunity to ask for an overhead projector, although that might be redundant since Tom Rishel here already knows about this and is apparently the person responsible for obtaining one!

Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this workshop.


Title of Workshop:

Calculus Reform at Cornell: A Cooperative and Projects-based approach

Name(s) and Institution(s) of Presenter(s)

Harel Barzilai, Cornell University Lisa Orlandi, Cornell University

Description of Workshop

Last spring semester, for the first time, the Cornell Mathematics Department offered undergraduates two choices for a second-semester calculus course: the traditional version, and an alternative, "calculus reform" version.

These "reformed" calculus classes incorporate in-class cooperative learning, long-term group projects, and student group presentations at the blackboard.

Although there had been a consensus in the Department that the second-semester calculus class with its syllabus increasingly overloaded with a grab-bag of topics needed reform, the initiative for offering alternative, projects-based sections of the course came >from a small band of graduate students which drafted the proposal, selected course materials, and eventually designed the course.

Materials and ideas have been incorporated from calculus reform initiatives at New Mexico State University as well as Ithaca College. Some of these materials have been adapted or modified, and some new course materials were introduced by Harel Barzilai and Lisa Orlandi, the two graduate students who taught the course last spring.

Student feedback and evaluations were enthusiastically positive, and two sections are again being taught this fall -- one by Harel Barzilai, and one by a Cornell faculty member, Professor David Henderson, who will be putting forward a recommendation to the Department Curriculum Committee to allow for expanding the projects-based sections.

The presentation will cover how this endeavor was started by graduate student initiative, the planning of the course, what was learned upon teaching the course last spring and this fall, and future plans. Student evaluations, final student projects, and a small photo-album of student presentations night, will also be shared with participants.

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