January 5 Day 303: Notable Firsts

The Joint Mathematics Meeting 2021 is a virtual affair and will be my first national conference of the pandemic. It officially starts tomorrow morning but today was the MAA Board of Directors meeting that is held the day before.

MAA Board of Directors and MAA Senior Staff(L to R/Top to Bottom): Jenny Quinn, James Alvarez, Michael Dorff, Lisa Marano, Jim Daniel, James Sellars, Tim Chartier, Hortensia Soto, April Strom, Michael Pearson, Deirdre Longacher Smeltzer, Steve Coolbaugh, Cheryl Adams, Kiera Edwards, Carol Baxter, Allen Butler, Kimberly Rutland-Starks, Susan Kennedy, Kirsten Vu, Jennifer Barton, Emille Lawrence, and Ben Spaisman.

I’ve just finished planning my first two days of attendance. There is a learning curve for navigating the on-line program but selecting sessions is straightforward. I am grateful that the organizers changed everything to be in mountain time. Consequently my first session will be at 9 am MT/ 8 am PT (rather than the original plan of 9 am ET/ 6 am PT. )

If you are attending, I will be hosting

Thursday at noon mountain time (11 am pacific—I have my schedule display in pacific time so I don’t have to translate to my time zone.) It’s a virtual attempt to create community and connect with friends as if we were wandering the MAA Pavilion in the Exhibit Hall. I’ll be there with some great people. So please stop by and say hello.

Today was my first class of the new quarter. An inquiry-based learning abstract algebra (II) class. We are off to a great start. Enrollment is small (only 5 students, three of whom I have taught previously). While they did not show their faces, they did speak freely. I am trying something new-to-me this quarter. Previously I have used Limnu.com for my collaborative whiteboard. Because this is a continuation of the algebra sequence from autumn, I am using Google JamBoard (the technology they previously used) with the IBL notes on one half and the class notes/work on the other. Best of all, I don’t have to post notes later—they already have access.

Checking for commutativity. Each student had a different composition of permutations to determine.

Features I like about JamBoard:

  • It feels more organized since I can add pages rather than working on an infinite board.
  • The ability to paste an image (and by image I mean screenshot) as seen above where clever students grabbed and resized permutation diagrams related to their assigned problem.

I won’t put down my criticisms yet as I am still a JamBoard novice. Perhaps something I couldn’t figure out on the fly can be done with a little more research and practice.

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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