Math Fall 2020 Instructional Strategies

The Department of Mathematics is committed to high quality instruction. We will provide instruction safely and responsibly. In particular, we will follow official guidelines with regard to Covid-19. Consequently, there will be a mix of modes for delivering the curriculum, some of which are entirely online and others which will include a range of in-person opportunities. The Department has experience with these teaching modes. Department members have successfully taught a variety of online classes for years. Instructors will communicate detailed information about individual courses to students through a combination of email, Canvas, and other updates.

Samples of Information for some Courses: To see the information scroll through the document, or follow the links below:

MA 109 College Algebra
MA 110 Precalculus
MA 137 Calculus I for the Life Sciences
 

 

Dear MA 109 Students,


On behalf of the MA 109 teaching team, we are writing to welcome you to the course this fall semester. Our dedicated team of instructors is looking forward to working with you this fall as we navigate these chaotic and unpredictable times. We understand that you have many questions about what to expect for the upcoming term, and we hope this email will contain some of the answers you are looking for:

How will instruction take place in this class?
Course content will be delivered asynchronously: you will have access to videos and written materials which will be your primary source of course content. The benefits of this setup include the fact that you can pause, rewind, and re-watch the videos as needed. Although you will have to complete the work by set deadlines, you may work through the material at your own pace within that time frame. All MA 109 students will have access to the same material in this format, and therefore, as in all semesters, all MA 109 students will be learning the same content.

How will class time be spent?
This will vary by section and instructor. We have a talented team of educators who will deploy a variety of research-proven strategies to best support the students in their sections. Your instructor will be in contact before the first week of classes with more details. Exams will be given online on the exam dates listed on the Registrar’s website. More details about the exams will be posted to Canvas separately. How will I get help? First and foremost, your instructor will be there to guide and support you throughout the entire process. Through office hours, virtual discussion boards, and other activities, you will have ample opportunities to ask questions and get help. You will also have access to other campus tutoring services, such as those provided by The Study (www.uky.edu/TheStudy) and Academic Coaching (https://www.uky.edu/acadcoach/).

We understand that the online aspects of the course may not be what you were hoping for. While we would also prefer to see you all in our classrooms, we must take the health and safety of our students, faculty, and the entire UK and Lexington communities seriously. Our instructors have been teaching online sections of MA 109 for years, with excellent results. We are prepared to give our students all the support and help that would be expected in any semester.

We are looking forward to meeting you all in a few weeks, and if you have any questions before then, please feel free to reach out.

Katherine Paullin                                        Chloe Urbanski Wawrzyniak
MA 109 Course Coordinator                      MA 109 Assistant Course Coordinator
katherine.paullin@uky.edu                        ChloeUWawrzyniak@gmail.com

 

 

Dear MA 110 students:


We hope that this message finds you well and that you and your family are safe in these unusual times. While this semester will have a different setup than usual, this should work well for MA 110. We will be learning and practicing lots of problems together, with plenty of opportunity for you to ask questions to solidify the math skills needed for calculus courses at UK.

Because of social distancing guidelines, it is impossible for the traditional large lectures to meet in person during the regularly scheduled hours, but this does not mean you will be on your own learning this material. We will provide a complete set of annotated lecture notes, plus video content of instructors working common problems step by step; unlike regular lectures, you can pause, and rewind and learn from these videos at your own pace.

We will use the regularly scheduled lecture meeting times for synchronous Zoom meetings where the instructor will meet with the class in real time to answer questions from students. Each week, you should read over the lecture notes, watch the videos, and start on your homework -- then come to these meetings with questions.

The recitation sections will have approximately 30 students in them. These are more manageable regarding the social distancing requirement. Our current plan for the recitations is to have a mix of Zoom meetings and in-person meetings with a half-capacity (15 students approximately) at any given time. When meeting online, we envision that the small recitations will be broken up into small "breakout rooms" where you will meet a smaller group of students from your section to work on individual supplemental problems under the supervision of the TA. The intent is to reinforce the content learned through the videos and the lectures and at the same time to "meet" other students that are likely on the same career path as you.

As in previous semesters, homework continues to be a combination of ungraded practice problems and graded online homework. Exams will be given online, but they will continue to follow the style of exams given in previous years. It is only the delivery modality that is different, and we are working out the technical details for the implementation to ensure the academic integrity of the process online.

 

We hope that this message provides you with a clearer picture of the upcoming semester. Circumstances could easily change, and we will be ready to adapt to continue learning while protecting everyone’s health and safety. We are looking forward to working with you this fall!

Jack Schmidt (and the TAs)

 

 

Dear MA 137 students,


We hope that this message finds you well and that you and your family are safe in these unusual times. We also hope that you are excited to start your academic career at UK.

We are writing to provide you some preliminary information about MA 137 for Fall 2020. In addition, we wish to clarify some of the information that was recently posted in myUK and to describe procedures we plan to take to minimize risks to everyone’s health.

The course has approximately 310 students enrolled in 10 small sections. The MWF 10 am lecture taught by Dr. Corso has approximately 185 students (sections 001 through 006), and the MWF 1 pm lecture taught by Dr. Leep has approximately 125 students (sections 007 through 010).

Because of social distancing guidelines, it is impossible for the large lectures to meet in person during the regularly scheduled hours. For this reason, we will provide a complete set of annotated lecture notes with solutions as well as a complete set of video lectures that will explain those notes. This will be the bulk of the course content. We expect students will watch the videos before each class. In this way students can rewind the videos whenever needed, unlike during an in-class lecture. We will use the regularly scheduled lecture meeting times for synchronous Zoom meetings to complement the video lectures, where the lecturers will meet the class in real time to answer questions from students. Zoom allows sharing of mathematics easily through a variety of apps for a tablet. Although there is no mandatory attendance policy, it is strongly recommended that students attend these Zoom meetings. Regular attendance greatly helps students keep up with the coursework and helps to give important structure to the course. Regular homework assignments, which are due approximately two times per week, are also an essential tool to help you learn calculus.

Recitation sections meet on Tuesday and Thursday each week and have approximately 30 students. Their size makes maintaining social distancing requirements more manageable. Our current plan for the recitations is to have a mix of Zoom meetings and in-person meetings at half capacity (approximately 15 students) at any given time. When meeting online, we envision that the small recitations can be broken up into small "breakout rooms" where you can meet a randomized set of students from your section to work on individual supplemental problems under the supervision of the TA, who will move between breakout rooms to help. The intent is to reinforce the content learned through the videos and the lectures and at the same time to "meet" other students that are likely on the same career path as you are.

There will be ample opportunities for virtual meetings with your instructor and TA as we will plan many Zoom office hours throughout the week. Students should drop in whether they have specific questions or want to just listen to what others are asking. For discussion of confidential matters or other issues, students can also request one-on-one meetings with the instructor. We will maintain discussion pages for each lecture so that you can ask questions. We will answer them in a way that can be helpful to all students with similar questions. We hope that you will take advantage of these personalized opportunities for learning in these unusual circumstances.

The material covered this fall is the same as in previous semesters. Assignments due dates appear in Canvas to help keep students organized and on task with the course. Quizzes and exams will be given online, but they will continue to follow the style of quizzes and exams given in previous years. It is only the delivery modality that is different, and we are working out the technical details for the implementation to ensure the academic integrity of the process. We plan to continue giving three common hour exams, each on a Tuesday evening from 5 to 7 pm. As usual, conflicts will be handled on a case-by-case basis. More details will be announced in Canvas with ample notice. We will organize review sessions prior to each of the scheduled exams.

We are in the process of updating the material found in Canvas. For example, you can already familiarize yourself with the schedule for the entire semester, and all lecture notes have been updated for the new semester. They are accessible under "Files". The videos will gradually be updated in time for the start of the semester.

We recognize that many students arrive at UK with a broad range of knowledge and expertise in mathematics. We have created a lot of supporting material and infrastructure to make the learning experience in the course fruitful, rewarding and, of course, successful. We, Dr. Leep and Dr. Corso, have worked together for many years in large courses such as MA 137 and have collaborated for many years to bring large lecture courses online. We are confident that we form a good and experienced team.

We hope that this message provides you with a clearer picture of how the upcoming semester will play out. Circumstances could easily change, and we will be ready to adapt, whatever the outcome will be.

We are looking forward to meeting you in mid-August.

Regards,

Alberto Corso and David Leep
and the TAs

 

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