This is the proposal for a presentation given at the Joint Mathematics
Meetings, January 10-13, 1996, Orlando, Florida.
Proposal for Contributed Paper
Constructivism Across the Curriculum
Constructivism in the AUGMENT Program
Augsburg's AUGMENT program was developed in the early 1990's with
support from FIPSE, the Fund for Improvement of Post-Secondary Education.
It replaced our calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations
courses for mathematics and science majors. A constructivist paradigm was
present from the beginning of the design process. Several aspects of the
program illustrate the underlying philosophy:
In this paper I describe these features of the AUGMENT program and discuss
our measures of their effectiveness.
- A variety of mathematical topics, not just calculus and linear
algebra, allows students to make connections among various areas of
- An historical approach in the first year encourages students to
make connections with previous mathematical experiences and with
non-mathematical ideas being encountered in other courses.
- In-class investigations of problems in small groups with a focus
on process rather than answers allow students to construct new concepts.
- A grading scheme for homework writeups explicitly rewards students
who build new mental structures.
- Investigating several problems repeatedly through the course
requires that students grapple with the same concepts from a variety of
See http://www.augsburg.edu/depts/math/math.augment.html for more information on the AUGMENT program.
Larry Copes, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN 55454