MTE 598: Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education 1 (RUME 1)

Tuesday 4:00-6:30 p.m., ECA 385

Objective: By the end of the semester you will be able to locate, read, discuss, criticize, and draw practical conclusions from research articles. You will gain a broad perspective on areas of past and current mathematics education research. In particular, you will learn about select constructs that have been developed, and the work that constructs do for us in research, theory, and practice.

Perspective: Research on learning and teaching undergraduate mathematics will be one of the foci of this course. However, it is important to note that undergraduate mathematics students are not born as undergraduates. Their thinking develops over 12 years of schooling and life experiences and they arrive in college at many different levels of proficiency and with many different understandings of the mathematics they have experienced. As such, we will read research literature in a variety of areas, some of which precede undergraduate mathematics education.

Participation: The nature of your participation in discussions of ideas, issues, and topics will determine the benefit you draw from this course. To help you prepare for productive discussion of each assigned article, I will post a number of discussion questions on Course Forum (CF) to which you must reply using CF. The nature of CF discussions is that you reply not only to the discussion question, you also contribute to the ongoing conversation as it has evolved to the point of your contribution. Discussions can also be threaded. I will show you how to created a threaded discussion during the second class.

Special Activity: One special activity will give you an opportunity to analyze the raw data upon which a research article is based, then compare your analysis with the published analysis. The aim of this activity is to give you a foundational experience to reverse-engineering a published article so that you can imagine the data an article reports.

Précis: It is important that you develop thematic, coherent understandings of the literature. As such, starting in Week 6 you will write a précis (fancy word for summary) of each article you read. More information on the construction of a précis will come later.

Simulated Conference Panel: You will participate in a “conference panel” to discuss a topic. You will represent the perspective of an author who has written on that topic.

Special Journal Issue: You will engage in a final project to gain an even greater control of the literature on research in mathematics education. You will design a Special Issue on Research in Mathematics Education containing 5 articles on a specific theme in mathematics education. This entails selecting articles to be included (not limited to the course reading list), summarizing each article, and writing a preface that ties the articles together and frames the collection for readers. You will contact each first author after writing your summary, explaining the nature of your activity, to request their thoughts on what you gleaned from his or her article.