Projects-Based Calculus at Cornell
A Cross-referenced History
(Others have brought Multivariable Calculus with Maple to Cornell)

  • Spring 93: In his second consecutive semester of teaching second semester calculus (math 112), graduate student instructor Harel Barzilai introduces student activities in groups and oral exams (presentations at the board by students to him) in his class. (Also took students to Dept Seminar)

  • Fall 93: Graduate students Harel Barzilai and Maria Gargova attend a talk at the Occasional Seminar on Undergraduate Teaching (OSUT) by Cynthia Woodburn of the University of New Mexico (UNM) about Student Projects in Calculus.

  • Spring 94: Fellow graduate students Bob Milnikel and Lisa Orlandi join Harel and Maria in actively working to develop the proposed course.

  • Summer 94: Maria and Harel, along with Tom Rishel and Cliff Earle meet with Ithaca College professors Steve Hilbert, John Maceli and Stan Seltzer, and are given an overview about how Ithaca College (IC) uses < Activities and Projects in their calculus courses (August 94)

  • "112reform" email list set up (August 94)

  • Fall 94:

  • Winter Break Harel works out a substantially more detailed week-by-week and (for first several weeks) day-by-day Syllabus for the course. When Spring semester starts, Harel and Lisa later make up minute-by-minute estimates for how much time will be spent on lecture, activities, etc, each day, the weekend before each week.

    Harel also writes up an "Advertisement" about the course for use at the Grand Course Exchange to entice prospective students into trying out the course, and a first-day handout for the students, about working in groups.

  • Spring 95: Two special sections of math 112 are offered, taught by Harel Barzilai and Lisa Orlandi, advised by professor Cliff Earle. Cliff Earle acts as intermediary to, and reports progress to, the Curriculum Committee.

  • Lisa and Harel give an OSUT talk, describing how the special projects-based sections of math 112 are going, including mechanics (how the student groups are chosen, how the projects are graded, etc) and students' responses (overall, quite positive) to the course.

  • Student Comments at end of semester about projects-based Math 112.

  • Fall 95: Two special sections of Math 112 are offered, taught by Harel Barzilai and Professor David Henderson.

  • Professor Henderson reports to the Curriculum Committee (October 30) favorably about the course; "I was amased at how well it [is] working."

  • November 6 Harel Barzilai and Professor Henderson give a talk at the Occasional Seminar on Undergraduate Teaching reporting on their experiences in the two special sections, including their impressions that the students are not only more enthusiastic, but also learn more, with activities and projects. Email outreach to instructors of math 111 (the prerequisite to math 112) before the November 6th presentation.

  • November 10 Curriculum Committee's Policy Decision on Projects-based sections of Math 112

  • November 17 Harel Barzilai and Lisa Orlandi present at the MER Workshop (The workshop was held at the Statler Hotel, Cornell University, Nov 16-19)
    Abstract of MER Forum Presentation

  • Spring 96: Two special sections of Math 112 are offered, taught by Harel Barzilai and Maria Gargova.

  • Fall 96:

    For the first time, Three special sections of Math 112 are offered by the Department, taught by Nat Miller, Ed Mosteig, and Lisa Orlandi.

    A Grant and special TA are approved for the semester by the Mathematics Department and College of Arts and Sciences whereby Harel Barzilai will be developing a reform-calculus syllabus for Math 111 (first semester calculus), as well as building and organizing a Resource Library for Math 111 and Math 112, both in folders/binders, and online on the Web through these pages, which will be a resource for instructors wanting to teach a reform version of calculus.

    This library will give instructors flexibility, as they will be able to choose from a variety of reform materials, as well as being able to choose anywhere from a few materials for use within a more traditional course, to a fairly complete week-by-week reform-calculus "package".

    Return to Projects Calculus Home Page