Visit by Chris Rasmussen

On May 30 to June 1, 2011, Chris Rasmussen from San Diego State University visited Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC). During his visit, he participated in different seminars and worked together with members of UMERC.

Chris Rasmussen teaches mathematics and mathematics education at San Diego State University. He is well known for his work in undergraduate mathematics education, where he works actively on both theoretical and pragmatic issues related to the transition from students' current ways of reasoning to more formal and abstract ways of reasoning.


May 31

Seminar in doctoral course
Room: N335

Seminar with UMERC
"The Social Production of Meaning" (see abstract below)
Room: N210

June 1

Seminar at the Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics
"The Inquiry Oriented Differential Equations Project: Addressing Challenges Facing Undergraduate Mathematics Education" (see abstract below)
Room: MA356


The Social Production of Meaning
In this talk I highlight three generalizable brokering moves that can function as a mechanism for the social production of meaning. These broking moves, which were identified through analysis of classroom videorecordings from an undergraduate course in differential equations, facilitated the emergence of a complex and sophisticated inscription known as a bifurcation diagram. The three brokering moves detailed each involve different types of efforts to influence the degree of continuity between communities: the broader mathematical community, the local classroom community, and the various small groups that make up the local classroom community. The analysis highlights how various members of the class can function as brokers, with the teacher playing a unique role as a member or peripheral member of all three communities.

The Inquiry Oriented Differential Equations Project: Addressing Challenges Facing Undergraduate Mathematics Education
Undergraduate mathematics education today faces a number of new challenges and difficulties. One way to address these challenges is to build on promising theoretical advances and instructional approaches, even those not originally developed with undergraduate mathematics in mind. The Inquiry Oriented Differential Equations Project (IODE) is one such effort, which can serve as model for other undergraduate course innovations. In this presentation I describe central characteristics of the IODE approach, report on results of a comparison study, and detail the emergence of a bifurcation diagram, a surprising and illustrative example of student reinvention. I use the bifurcation diagram reinvention example to develop the notion of brokering, which speaks to the unique role of the instructor in student reinvention of significant mathematical ideas. The notion of brokering, which generalizes beyond differential equations, highlights how teaching and learning mathematics is a cultural practice, one that is mediated by and coordinated with the broader mathematics community, the local classroom community, and the small groups that comprise the classroom community.

Page Editor: Tomas Bergqvist

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