How to beat others to the mathematical punch
New MITx MOOC brings the street fighting approach to solving math problems.
Sara Sezun and Steve Carson
Office of Digital Learning
In a street fight, there are no rules of engagement. To win, you need to think quickly and do the unconventional. Sanjoy Mahajan, visiting associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, brings this no-holds-barred spirit to his upcoming MITx course, 6.SFMx Street-Fighting Math, which starts April 8 and is open for registration on the edX platform. Mahajan will teach students how to calculate approximations in real-life situations, to arrive at an educated guess when exact answers are not easy to obtain.
Mahajan begins the first class of his residential course by writing on the board, “Rigor leads to rigor mortis.” He believes math should be fun, and criticizes methods that rely on rote memorization to teach math. He says, “Because of rigor mortis, people think I do it right, or I don’t do it”, an attitude that intimidates many students. Mahajan likens math to physics experiments. “You investigate it, just like you investigate the world, as a giant laboratory with objects, devices, and patterns.”
One of Mahajan’s major research interests is improving the teaching of math and science by doing away with rote memorization, which he calls “brittle knowledge that doesn’t transfer to any new problem. For instance, in quadratic equations, students have a hard time using ‘y’ as a variable, because they’re always so used to using ‘x’.” He explains that while learning algebra, “[Students] didn’t understand what they were doing. They saw the pattern of using ‘x’ as a pin mark, but didn’t understand its meaning. They only remembered the order of symbols in a formula; they didn’t understand the meaning of what they were doing.” Read more.
Want a taste of the new MITx course 6.SFMx Street Fighting Math? Check out this TEDxCaltech video of Sanjoy Mahajan showing off some of his chops:
Here’s an excerpt from the third post in from Robert Talbert’s excellent series on flipping his calculus class:
The inverted calculus course: Using Guided Practice to build self-regulation
This post continues the series of posts about the inverted/flipped calculus class that I taught in the Fall. In the previous post, I described the theoretical framework for the design of this course: self-regulated learning, as formulated by Paul Pintrich. In this post, I want to get into some of the design detail of how we (myself, and my colleague Marcia Frobish who also taught a flipped section of calculus) tried to build self-regulated learning into the course structure itself.
We said last time that self-regulated learning is marked by four distinct kinds of behavior:
- Self-regulating learners are an active participants in the learning process.
- Self-regulating learners can, and do, monitor and control aspects of their cognition, motivation, and learning behaviors.
- Self-regulating learners have criteria against which they can judge whether their current learning status is sufficient or whether more learning needs to take place. (And then they take initiative to close the gap, if it exists, because of #2.)
- Self-regulating learners select learning activities to serve as mediators between their learning goals and their own personal environment and circumstances.
This is really the vision that I have for each one of my students – that they would eventually become this kind of learner, and that when they take a class with me, the class moves them incrementally toward being a self-regulated learner. In fact I’ve come to believe that the end goal of all of higher education is to produce self-regulating learners. Read more.
Call for Proposals is Now Open!
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We are proud to announce that The University of Chicago has joined edX as our 34th Charter Member.
One of the world’s premier academic and research institutions, the University of Chicago has driven new ways of thinking since its founding in 1890. Today, UChicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to its Hyde Park and international campuses, keeping UChicago at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world.
UChicago scholars take an interdisciplinary approach to research that addresses important challenges across the academic spectrum. Their work transforms the way we understand the world, advancing—and creating—fields of study. Generating new knowledge for the benefit of present and future generations, UChicago research has had an impact around the globe, leading to such breakthroughs as discovering the link between cancer and genetics, establishing revolutionary theories of economics, and developing tools to produce reliably excellent urban schooling.
Future courses offered by UChicagoX will come from UChicago faculty widely lauded as some of the world’s greatest thinkers, at the undergraduate College and the four divisions and six professional schools within its Graduate program.
EdX and UChicago share common goals: increasing access to quality education, improving outcomes online and on campus, and improving pedagogy through research. UChicago has a long history of experimentation to improve educational outcomes through innovation. EdX is happy to have a new partner to help make new discoveries about what helps students learn and faculty teach. Read original post.
To learn about sustaining members of OCWC please click here.
The Consortium welcomes its new members:
1. Neusoft Institute of Information, China
2. SeoulTech, South Korea
3. College of Southern Maryland, USA
4. ETH Zurich, Switzerland
5. Università Telematica Internazionale, Italy
To learn more about these members, click here.
MathWorks expands its support for digital learning at MIT
Pledges an additional $2 million in the next three years to support the development of massive open online courses
Office of Digital Learning
MathWorks, a supporter of MIT OpenCourseWare since 2012, has pledged $2 million in new support for the development of massive open online courses through MITx. MIT OpenCourseWare and MITx are the flagship programs of the recently formed Office of Digital Learning, which is leading MIT’s exploration of how scalable learning technologies will transform education online and on campus.
The new MathWorks pledge is in addition to an $850,000 pledge made in 2012 to support MIT OpenCourseWare, and will be used to fund postdoc, graduate, and undergraduate teaching assistant positions for MITx massive open online courses; the creation of additional MITx courses in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics); and MITx courses with hands-on activities for learners.
“Scalable learning tools are permitting unprecedented access to educational opportunities,” remarked MathWorks CEO Jack Little at the announcement of the new gift. “We are proud to play a role in this remarkable effort to provide outstanding educational experiences to anyone with Internet access, and to create more effective and engaging learning for students on the MIT campus.” Read more.