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Topic: [MATHEDU] Capstone Courses
Replies: 7   Last Post: Oct 2, 1997 12:59 PM

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Murphy Waggoner

Posts: 52
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: [MATHEDU] Capstone Courses
Posted: Oct 1, 1997 11:57 AM
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David Epstein writes about possible capstone courses. We will teach our
first capstone course next fall. Simpson is a small,liberal arts college
(1965 students) and we graduate approximately 15 math majors each year.

We are currently trying to decide exactly what to teach in the capstone
course next fall. The departments original idea only included the
requirements that the students learn to do some independent research and
they work on communication skills (writing and presenting mathematics). We
plan to team teach the course.

We discovered in our first organizational meeting that we all have
different visions of the course. I think it will end up being a course
which begins with an axiomatic system (from which area, I don't know:
algebra, geometry, topology, analysis?) and statements to prove from those
axioms. We do not have another course that is taught in that way.

Since at least one third of our graduates will be teaching in the secondary
schools, I worry that they will not see the relavance of such a capstone
course. The argument from some of our faculty is that the students will
learn the value of conjecture and validation and will pass that on to our

Other ideas? I would love to hear them and pass them on to our department.


M. E. "Murphy" Waggoner
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Simpson College
Simpson College Chapter, Habitat for Humanity
Faculty Advisor
"A hand up, not a handout."

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