...a companion blog to "Math-Frolic," specifically for interviews, book reviews, weekly-linkfests, and longer posts or commentary than usually found at the Math-Frolic site.

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"Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty – a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show." ---Bertrand Russell (1907) Rob Gluck

"I have come to believe, though very reluctantly, that it [mathematics] consists of tautologies. I fear that, to a mind of sufficient intellectual power, the whole of mathematics would appear trivial, as trivial as the statement that a four-legged animal is an animal." ---Bertrand Russell (1957)

******************************************************************** Rob Gluck

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How MOOCs Are Organized… Devlin-style


Posting this here since I'm feeling a tad guilty about how often Math-Frolic posts reference back to Keith Devlin!!… but the man isn't simply prolific, he's incredibly insightful, curious, and hard-working... and, has an endearing British accent ;-).
Anyway, his latest post on the second edition of his (free) Stanford/Coursera MOOC course, "Introduction To Mathematical Thinking" (beginning in March, and still an experiment) ought not-be-missed if you've never taken a MOOC but wish to get a sense of how they proceed  (his optional book for the course, is available through Amazon) :

http://mooctalk.org/2013/02/24/how-are-moocs-organized/

The post is actually a bit dry reading but still chockfull of what to expect in the way of form and organization from this particular MOOC. And importantly I think, toward the end Keith writes, "This course is about learning to think a certain way – the focus is on the process not the product. You will need time to understand and assimilate new ideas. Particularly if you were a whiz at high-school math, you will need to slow down, and to learn to think and reflect (and ideally discuss with others) before jumping in and doing."

In the post Keith links to a 7-minute (low-resolution) YouTube sample of what a typical course lecture is like:



BTW, Keith writes this of the video lectures:
"The lecture videos are not carefully crafted, heavily edited productions. If you want a polished presentation of the course material, you can read the course textbook. My goal with the lectures is to provide as best I can the experience of sitting alongside me as we work through material together."
...Also in March, Keith's private company InnerTube Games releases its first math video learning games for younger folks (this is completely separate from MOOCs), so I know I'll be referring back to him yet again in the near future. (Go HERE to be notified when news of the games is released.)

And speaking of secondary/primary education, NPR's "TED Radio Hour" (based on TEDTalks) has a wonderful episode that includes Ken Robinson and Sal Khan talking about the nature of education (not specific to math, but more generally) -- even if you've seen their TEDTalks it's worth a listen (Sir Ken Robinson is one of the most popular speakers that has ever been on TED):

http://www.npr.org/2012/06/22/155224654/building-a-better-classroom

A LOT has now been written (and continues to be, pro-and-con) about the "flipped classroom" that Khan Academy spawned. Here is just one article from a couple months ago:

http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/hack-higher-education/top-ed-tech-trends-2012-flipped-classroom

Or, if you want pieces more specific to flipping math classes you can check out this google search:

http://tinyurl.com/b2hsx7q

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