Two senior lecturers in SFU’s Department of Mathematics will deliver prize lectures at the summer meeting of the Canadian Mathematical Society in Regina, Saskatchewan, in June.
Veselin Jungic on blended learning
The first is Veselin Jungic, who will receive the society’s 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award for “sustained and distinguished contributions in mathematics teaching at the undergraduate level at a Canadian post-secondary education institution.”
Besides being deputy director of the Interdisciplinary Research in the Mathematical and Computational Sciences Centre (IRMACS), Jungic teaches a number of courses, including introductory calculus courses with more than 500 students. He also conducts research on methods and techniques for teaching large classes and has written research papers on the subject. He frequently incorporates online assignments and pioneered the use of Lon-CAPA, an online course management system, for mathematics courses at SFU.
Jungic was instrumental in the development of many of SFU’s outreach programs, including the “A Taste of Pi” program, which features enrichment activities for high school students, and the Math Student Ambassador Program, which connects SFU student volunteers with high schools to speak to students about pursuing university mathematics. In addition to his work with university and high school students, Veselin regularly teaches basic courses in mathematics to adult learners, including students in the SFU Liberal and Business Studies program and First Nations individuals who did not complete secondary education.
Jungic will deliver a prize lecture on “The Blended Learning Approach to Teaching a Calculus Class: What May Change and What Should Stay the Same.” His presentation will examine some general facts about blended learning – which he suggests can be described as an integration of “seemingly opposite approaches, such as formal and informal learning, face-to-face and online experiences, directed paths and reliance on self-direction” – and will analyze the use of the approach for various university-level science classes. Finally, he will discuss an ongoing attempt to introduce the blended learning approach to teaching calculus classes at SFU.
Malgorzata Dubiel on teaching the teachers
The second senior lecturer is Malgorzata Dubiel, who in December received the society’s 2011 Adrien Pouliot Award for “individuals or teams of individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions to mathematics education in Canada.”
Dubiel will deliver a prize lecture on “Mathematics for Elementary Teachers: The Most Important Course You Can Teach?” In her abstract, Dubiel notes that the presentation will consider the evolution of SFU’s MATH 190 Mathematics for Elementary Teachers course, “its influence on similar courses at other B.C. institutions, and its influence on our enrichment programs.” Given that many students aiming for careers as elementary school teachers lack confidence in their ability to teach math and often dislike the subject, and given research findings that suggest people form lasting attitudes towards math by the end of grade 5, Dubiel asks, “Shouldn’t we be investing more into educating those who have a crucial role in introducing the next generation to mathematics?”
Learn more about Veselin Jungic and Malgorzata Dubiel:
Veselin Jungic’s faculty profile page: www.math.sfu.ca/people/staff/faculty/veselin_jungic
Veselin Jungic’s personal website: people.math.sfu.ca/~vjungic/
Malgorzata Dubiel’s faculty profile page: www.math.sfu.ca/people/staff/faculty/Malgorzata_dubiel