MATH 5120 (8629-100), Fall 2013

College Mathematics Teaching for New Teaching Assistants

Catalog Description:
This course prepares new mathematics teaching assistants for undergraduate-level mathematics instruction. Students will investigate the technical, pedagogical, ethical, and other professional dimensions of undergraduate mathematics instruction.
Desired Learning Outcomes:
A successful participant is able to:
Permission. Mathematics Department teaching assistants will be enrolled automatically; others should contact the instructor.
2 (This course counts toward your minimum enrollment but does not count toward the masters program.)
Martin J. Mohlenkamp,, (740)593-1259, 315B Morton Hall.
Office hours: Monday 3:05-4pm, Wednesday 3:05-4pm, and Friday 12:55-1:50pm, or by appointment.
Web page:
Class hours/ location:
Wednesday 6:20-8:10pm in 326 Morton Hall.
None; materials will be provided. You should read the MAA's A Handbook for Mathematics Teaching Assistants.
Each week an assignment of some type is due. You also need to read/view the materials in preparation for class.
Final Exam:
The final exam is scheduled on Monday, December 9, at 7:00 pm. We may substitute a final report/project.
Attendance is required and is counted as a percentage of your grade. Missed classes may be made up by doing additional course-related work.
Participation is counted as a percentage of your grade. Being prepared for class by having read/viewed the materials in advance is a major portion of participation. You participation grade can be no higher than your attendance grade.
Your grade is based on attendance at 10%, participation at 10%, homework at 60%, and the final exam/report/project at 20%. An average of 90% guarantees you at least an A-, 80% a B-, 70% a C-, and 60% a D-. Grades are not the point.
Academic Dishonesty:
Unless otherwise specified, you may use any help that you can find, but you must acknowledge in writing what help you received and from whom or where. Representing others' work as your own is plagiarism and is prohibited. Dishonesty will result in a zero on that work, and possible failure in the class and a report to the university judiciaries.
Special Needs:
If you have specific physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please let me know as soon as possible so that your learning needs may be appropriately met.
Learning Resources:
  • Your classmates are your best resource. Use them!
  • MAA's A Handbook for Mathematics Teaching Assistants.
  • Tools for Teaching eBook (on-campus access).
  • Tomorrow's Professor mailing list.
  • Good Problems writing program.
  • LaTeX, Python, and Matlab resources.
  • OHIO Center for Teaching and Learning
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Teaching Programs, Tools, and Resources
  • MIT Teaching and Learning Laboratory
  • Open course materials for Teaching College-Level Science and Engineering
  • Schedule

    Subject to change. Materials should be read/viewed before the day they are listed since our in-class activities will be based on them. Homework is due on the day listed.

    WeekDate Topic/Materials Homework
    0See the orientation page.
    1Wed Aug 28 Venting and troubleshooting. orientation evaluation
    2Wed Sep 4 Who are your students? Peer observation (.tex)
    3Wed Sep 11 Grading and assessment
    • MAA Handbook advice on Grading Issues.
    • How can you make sure the grading is consistent for different students in your class? for students in different classes?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of different course grading policies, such as dropping the lowest test or giving extra credit?
    • MAA handbook on Making up Exams and Quizzes
    • Should the test be easy problems, hard problems, or a mix? (template)
    • Biggs, J. "Aligning Teaching for Constructing Learning." (PDF) Higher Education Academy, 2005.
    • MATH 1200 learning outcomes (1, 2, 3).
    Mathematical and pedagogical autobiography (.pdf .tex)
    4Wed Sep 18 Intervening:
    • Tips for retention:
      • If someone gets below a C on anything, tell them they have to come see you in their office hours.
      • If a student misses more than one class period, call their cell phone (?or email first) and ask them if they are OK.
      • Develop a buddy system for attendance -- have students introduce themselves to each other on the first day, and then when someone is gone ask their buddy where they are and why they are missing and to try to track the person down if they haven't heard from them.
    • The Ohio University Academic Advancement Center offers Supplemental Instruction and a Math Center.
    • The Allen Student Help Center can help students who are academically adrift. If a student disappears from your class or is beyond your ability to help, submit an Academic Alert.
    • If you think a student may need accomodation due to a disability, refer them to Student Accessibility Services.
    • If you think a student may be a danger to themselves or others, report them.
    • If you observe sexual misconduct you are required to report it; further guidance.
    Peer observation (.tex)
    5Wed Sep 25 Classroom Craft
    Board skills:
    Write large, work left-to-right and top-to-bottom, use the whole board, use colors, write objectives/ outline, organize.
    Projector skills:
    Preload, do not switch back and forth, use a pointer.
    Vocal Techniques for Actors, avoid sore throats, stretch your mouth; shut the doors.
    Body language:
    Be aware; varies by culture and gender. Arrange the space.
    If you are not enthusiastic about the topic, act like you are. Spice things up (a little).
    Design a test (.tex)
    6Wed Oct 2 Active learning
    Why do it?
    How to do it:
    Faculty observation (.tex)
    7Wed Oct 9 Writing mathematics with LaTeX Design an active-learning activity (.tex).
    8Wed Oct 16 Active learning activities. Make your test from week 5 in LaTeX. Submit by email the source (.tex, any graphics) and the resulting .pdf file.
    9Wed Oct 23 Teaching Portfolios (Tim Vickers) Implement and report on your active-learning activity (.tex).
    10Wed Oct 30
    Syllabus preparation:
    What would you do? (dilemmas)
    Disruptive students: talking, texting, over-participation, arguing,...
    Critique a teaching philosophy (.tex)
    11Wed Nov 6 Mathematical software: Critique a syllabus (.tex)
    12Tues Nov 12 Keith Devlin-Fest: Prepare for the fest
    13Wed Nov 20 Using the web: Make a syllabus for one of the Spring semester MATH classes here, pretending you will be the instructor. Clearly label this syllabus as an exercise and not real.
    14Wed Nov 27 Thanksgiving holiday, no meeting
    15Wed Dec 4 Odds and ends:
    Learning from your evaluations.
    End of semester tasks:
    • Submit grades via the online grading system; stick to the MATH 1200 grading scale
    • Print a copy of your submitted grades and turn it in to the office.
    • Print a copy of your grades spreadsheet and turn it in to the office.
    • Turn the students' final exams in to the office.
    • If you will not teach the same course next semester, turn in your textbook.
    Make your webpage
    16Mon Dec 9 7:00 pm Final Exam (virtual; your physical presence is not required) Substitute summative activity

    Martin J. Mohlenkamp
    Last modified: Wed Dec 4 08:37:36 EST 2013