Monthly Archives: December 2011

Media Enhanced Teaching and Learning Workshop

Wednesday 11 January 2012
University of Nottingham

  • Are you interested in creating and using media to enhance your teaching, or are you already doing so?
  • Do you want to learn from what others are doing or share your experiences?

At this free workshop you’ll be able to find out what facilities and support are available in Nottingham, try out some of the hardware and software, find out what others are doing and talk about your experiences and any concerns you have. We hope you can join us.

This workshop will take place on Wednesday January 11th 2012 from 10:30-16:00 in the Keighton Auditorium, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD. Lunch will be provided.

METAL (Media Enhanced Teaching and Learning) is a University of Nottingham project that aims to build and support the growing community of staff involved in creating audio visual teaching material. This workshop is offered by the University of Nottingham, supported by the MSOR Network as part of the National HE STEM Programme Mathematical Sciences Curriculum Innovation Project.

Registration page.

The first two project workshops were held in May and June 2011. The ‘Take the Floor’ sessions, in which people talk about their work, proved very popular. We hope to have more of these at the next workshop, so if you would like to give a short informal talk (1-10 mins) on the uses you have made or would like to make of media in teaching, please indicate this when you register. Find out more about the previous workshops, including some recordings of talks given.

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Preparedness for mathematics at university

Recently the National HE STEM Programme published ‘Mathematics at the Transition to University: A Multi-Stage Problem?‘, an essay by Michael Grove. This explores research into the preparedness of incoming university students (particularly from A Level) over the last 10+ years and points to some work being done by the Programme at the transition to university to address the underlying issues.

Last year I wrote a blog post over on my personal blog, ‘On the Decline of Mathematical Studies, and ever was it so’, which looked at a few historical reports and wondered whether this was  just a case of each generation thinking the next has declining standards. Having read Michael’s piece and interested that the problem may be being reported in the same way while the underlying cause is shifting, I wrote a follow-up blog post, ‘Shifting decline of mathematical preparedness?’, and recorded a segment for this weeks Pod Delusion.

The Pod Delusion is a weekly radio programme and podcast. On its website, it describes itself like this:

The Pod Delusion is a weekly news magazine radio programme and podcast about interesting things. From politics, to science to culture and philosophy, it’s commentary from a secular, rationalist, skeptical, somewhat lefty-liberal, sort of perspective. A bit like From Our Own Correspondent but with more jokes.

The segment I recorded is about six minutes from 38:30 in Pod Delusion episode 114.

On the subject of work the Programme is doing to support students at the transition from school to university, the Mathematical Sciences Strand (of which my project is a part) is supporting a network of sigma maths and stats support centres in England and Wales. The sigma centres at Coventry and Loughborough have jointly won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Student Support.

Special issue of MSOR Connections published

In a previous post I reported that we were planning a special issue of MSOR Connections containing work under the Mathematical Sciences HE Curriculum Innovation Project and other work supported by the National HE STEM Programme and I spoke about some of the contents of this.

This has now been published and is available via the MSOR Network website as MSOR Connections Vol. 11, No. 3.

This contains either a project plan, interim or final report from almost every project we’ve supported (I’ve updated the list of supported projects with links to those who provided an interim or final report in this issue of Connections). It also contains accounts of a few other piece of work I’ve done, including a piece about the Mathematics HE Curriculum Summit and work we have supported as a result (based on my presentation at the CETL-MSOR Conference), an account of a group discussion I led on graduate skills at the Young Researchers in Mathematics Conference (recording of talk), background research I did for a presentation I gave at the 1st Media Enhanced Teaching and Learning workshop on effectiveness of lecture recordings (recording of talk) and a workshop report from the Ideas Exchange weekend by Tony Mann.

I am also pleased that we were able to include articles and reports of other work taking place around the National HE STEM Programme and a series of ‘Project in brief’ mentions of further work. My project is the HE Curriculum Innovation part of the Mathematical Sciences Strand, which also includes work on student support, widening participation and employer engagement. Included in this issue are eight activities taking place as part of the other work in the Mathematical Sciences Strand. The Mathematical Sciences Strand fits in to the wider National HE STEM Programme, which includes subject strands for Engineering, Physics and Chemistry, as well as six regional partners in England and Wales and a central hub at Birmingham. In this issue we highlighted fourteen Programme activities in mathematical sciences that are not part of the Mathematical Sciences Strand. I hope this will give you a flavour of the wider pattern of activity into which my work fits.