Monthly Archives: September 2011

Job advert: Research Assistant for Problem Solving Project

The following advert, for a research assistant for the Problem Solving project we are supporting at Coventry, closes 29/09/2011.

Under the Mathematical Sciences HE Curriculum Innovation Fund, the National HE STEM Programme has funded an 8-month project to promote the important role of problem-solving in UK mathematics degrees. The Principal Investigator (PI), Trevor Hawkes (Coventry University), and the project partners are seeking a full-time Research Assistant (RA) to carry out key aspects of the Project’s aims:

– to champion the value that problem-solving contributes to students’ mathematical development, to their enjoyment of mathematics, and to their academic success.

– to research successful problem-solving practice in HE mathematics departments, to carry out case studies, and to disseminate examples of good practice.

– to make it easier for students to gain problem-solving experience and for lecturers to incorporate problem-solving meaningfully in their teaching and assessment.

Applicants should have a good mathematics degree, excellent IT and communication skills, good organisational abilities, and an analytical approach to knowledge; they should also demonstrate an enthusiasm for, and experience in, mathematics education and, in particular, the application of problem-solving. Evidence of the ability to write well, to carry out interviews, and to use time effectively will be valued.

The post is full-time for 8 months and will be held at Coventry University.

Salary £23,661 – £31,800 per annum

For an informal discussion about this post please contact Trevor Hawkes , Associate Director on 024 7688 8599 or by email to

Provisional interview date: Thursday, 13th October 2011

Details of how to apply, the job description and person specification are available from the Coventry University website Job Profile.


Videos of ‘Teaching students to write mathematics’

Back in May this project provided funding to Kevin Houston to convene a workshop at the University of Leeds on Teaching students to write mathematics and make available videos of the sessions presented there. Now the videos are available. First, here’s the workshop description:

Students don’t write mathematics correctly. They throw down a mess of symbols with the answer underlined at the bottom and rely on the examiner’s intelligence to get the marks.
Teaching them to write in a more orderly and logical way has numerous advantages: it makes marking easier; allows students to demonstrate understanding (or not); forces an improvement in their thinking skills. Expressing their ideas clearly and correctly is a valuable skill for graduates in further study, employment and life in general.
At this workshop Kevin Houston (Leeds), Mike Robinson (Sheffield Hallam) and Franco Vivaldi (Queen Mary, University of London) will share practical ways in which they have addressed this in their teaching. You will come away with ideas of how you might adapt your own teaching and resources that you can use to do so.

The videos are available on a DVD. You can download the DVD so you can make your own copy or access the additional DVD extra content online via Kevin Houston’s DVD page. You can view the videos on a YouTube playlist and below.

1. Kevin Houston – Teaching Writing Mathematics

2. Franco Vivaldi – Mathematical Writing: An undergraduate course.

3. Mike Robinson – There’s more to maths than ‘doing the maths’.