September 29 Day 205: Eve of the Beginning

This is it. The Canvas site has been released to the students. The assessment plan has been finalized. And tomorrow starts remote Autumn 2020 classes at UW Tacoma.

Deciding on all the small details is perhaps the most stressful part. To reduce grading I am having students post written homework problems to a discussion board and “like”, reflect, and comment on each others work. It’s not the same as having me mark up everyone’s errors on every problem but it will identify where further clarification is required. There is online homework for immediate feedback and to ensure practice is consistent throughout the quarter.

There will be weekly assessments administered online that will be a mixture of interpretation, writing, and problem solving.

Since I am going to finish with another oral final exam, I have included opportunities that build familiarity and skills to become more comfortable with the interview process from the very beginning.

Next week I will give a group oral assessment on material they should know coming into the course. Random groups of 3 students will be created and 4-6 differentiation problems from which the oral assessment will be drawn, distributed in advance. Student teams have 15 minutes for each student to present a solution to a randomly selected problem. The same grade will be assigned to (present) members of the group, so it is in their best interest to work together and make sure everyone understands the problems. The experience should reinforce that the oral assessment values understanding of the process over proficiency with language or calculation. I hope this first experience will jump start our mathematics community and showcase the value of collaboration.

I have three other oral assessments planned for the 10 week quarter—reducing the size of the team each time until we get to individual interviews in advance of the final exam.

I think I am ready. I hope it works.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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