Orlando Meetings: Presentation Proposal

Back to Orlando: Constructivism

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:
  • A variety of mathematical topics, not just calculus and linear algebra, allows students to make connections among various areas of mathematics.

  • 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 perspectives.
In this paper I describe these features of the AUGMENT program and discuss our measures of their effectiveness.

See http://www.augsburg.edu/depts/math/math.augment.html for more information on the AUGMENT program.

Larry Copes, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN 55454

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