Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Quants: nirvana or nightmare? Duncan Lawson (Newman University), Tony Croft (Loughborough University) and Ruth Fairclough (University of Wolverhampton)
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×

Saving this for later?

Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime - even offline.

Text the download link to your phone

Standard text messaging rates apply

Quants: nirvana or nightmare? Duncan Lawson (Newman University), Tony Croft (Loughborough University) and Ruth Fairclough (University of Wolverhampton)

819
views

Published on

This is a draft of the presentation that will be given at the HEA Social Sciences annual conference - Teaching forward: the future of the Social Sciences. …

This is a draft of the presentation that will be given at the HEA Social Sciences annual conference - Teaching forward: the future of the Social Sciences.
For further details of the conference: http://bit.ly/1cRDx0p
Bookings open until 14 May 2014 http://bit.ly/1hzCMLR or external.events@heacademy.ac.uk

Part of the 'Apocalypse Now' conference theme, which requires the presenter to imagine their own future world scenario.

IMAGINED WORLD
Quantitative methodologies are becoming increasingly important in the world of social sciences. The availability and accessibility of datasets of all kinds is growing at a phenomenal rate. For many academics in social sciences this is not a welcome development. For some it is a philosophical question about the value of different paradigms. For others, it is a more personal reason – they do not feel confident using quantitative methods. The 2012 RSA report “Solving the maths problem” highlighted this in its key findings “English universities are side-lining quantitative and mathematical content because students and staff lack the requisite confidence and ability” (our emphasis). However, it is seems clear that what might be termed “the march of quants” is gaining unstoppable momentum. Some might not like it, but it is a fact of life that quantitative approaches are becoming a necessity in most social science disciplines. In the face of this irresistible change, burying one’s head in the sand is not a particularly productive option. Accepting the inevitable and “going with the flow” are more likely to produce positive outcomes. This paper will point to ways in which this might be achieved.

ABSTRACT
This paper will outline how mathematics support has grown over the last 20 years from a focus almost exclusively on working with students from STEM disciplines to its current manifestation of supporting students from a wide range of disciplines, including many in the social sciences. Mathematics support is one mechanism by which universities are attempting to facilitate the transition into an increasingly numerate world for those who have not studied mathematics since GCSE, many of whom made a positive decision to avoid the subject in the future.

Published in: Education, Technology

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
819
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
1
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Quants:  nirvana  or  nightmare  ?   Ruth  Fairclough  (University  of  Wolverhampton)   Duncan  Lawson  (Newman  University)   Tony  CroC  (Loughborough  University)  
  • 2. Outline   •  Increasing  quanHficaHon   •  “The  maths  problem  in  the  UK”   •  The  role  of  mathemaHcs  support   •  The  sigma  network   •  Freely  available  resources   •  InteracHve  session:  discuss  your  own  needs   •  How  could  sigma  evolve  to  help  your   students  ?  
  • 3. Increasing  quanHficaHon  (STEM)   •  It  has  always  been  the  case  that  students  in   STEM  disciplines  needed  a  good  foundaHon  in   mathemaHcs.  Over  the  last  20  years  or  so  this   has  become  parHcularly  problemaHc:     In  2006,  the  Royal  Society  argued  that  the  gap  between  the  mathema;cal   skills  of  students  when  they  entered  HE  and  the  mathema;cal  skills  needed   for  STEM  first  degrees  was  a  problem  which  had  become  acute.    …  The   evidence  we  received  suggested  that  the  problem  remains.   House  of  Lords  Select  CommiVee  on  Science  and  Technology  report  Higher   Educa;on  in  Science,  Technology,  Engineering  and  Mathema;cs  (STEM)   subjects  (2012).      
  • 4. Increasing  quanHficaHon  (BioSci)   •  As  bioscience  becomes  increasingly   quan;ta;ve,  there  is  also  an  urgent  need  to   raise  the  mathema;cal  and  computa;onal   skills  of  biologists  at  all  levels.         Biotechnology  &  Biological  Sciences  Research  Council   The  Age  of  Bioscience:  Strategic  Plan  2010-­‐2015   hVp://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/PublicaHons/strategic_plan_2010-­‐2015.pdf  
  • 5. Increasing  quanHficaHon  (SocSci)   •  The  UK  is  weak  in  quan;ta;ve  skills,  in  par;cular  but   not  exclusively  in  the  social  sciences  and   humani;es….  another  reason  for  the  poor  skills  of   undergraduates  is  the  dearth  of  academic  staff  able   to  teach  quan;ta;ve  methods     BriHsh  Academy  posiHon  statement   Society  Counts:  QuanHtaHve  Skills  in  the  Social  Sciences  and   HumaniHes  (2012)   hVp://www.britac.ac.uk/policy/Society_Counts.cfm  
  • 6. The  “maths  problem”  in  the  UK  
  • 7. The  “maths  problem”  in  the  UK   •  We  es;mate  that  of  those  entering  higher   educa;on  in  any  year,  some  330,000  would   benefit  from  recent  experience  of  studying   some  mathema;cs  (including  sta;s;cs)  at  a   level  beyond  GCSE.     •  At  the  moment  fewer  than  125,000  have  done   so.     ACME  –  Advisory  CommiVee  on  MathemaHcs  EducaHon  –  June  2011    
  • 8. So  what  is  mathemaHcs  support  ?   •  acHviHes  and  resources  provided  to  support  and  enhance   students’  learning  of  mathemaHcs  and  staHsHcs,  in  any  discipline,   at  any  level  of  higher  educaHon  and  which  are  provided  in  addiHon   to  tradiHonal  lectures,  tutorials,  examples  classes,  personal  tutorial   sessions….     •  Non-­‐judgmental,  informal,     not  credit-­‐bearing       •  Pleasant  and  non-­‐threatening     •  SupporHve      
  • 9. The  role  of  mathemaHcs  support   The  one-­‐to-­‐one  approach  was  essen;al  as  was  the  non-­‐judgmental  aWtude  of  the   lecturer  who  took  pains  to  explain  what  would  no  doubt  have  been  ordinarily  an   elementary  point  with  pa;ence  and  understanding.  
  • 10. sigma:  network  of  pracHHoners     •  There  is  an  established  community  of   mathemaHcs  support  pracHHoners   •  www.sigma-­‐network.ac.uk   •  JISCmail  list  sigma-­‐network   •  Quarterly  newsleVer   •  One  of  the  most  open,  friendly  and  welcoming   academic  communiHes  you  will  experience   •  free  maths  and  stats  support  resources   17  January  2014  
  • 11. Chetna  Patel  (Sheffield)   David  Bowers     (University  Campus  Suffolk)   Noel  Anne  Bradshaw   (Greenwich)   Leslie  Fletcher   (LJMU)   Emma  Cliffe  (Bath)   Ruth  Fairclough    (Wolverhampton)  
  • 12. Tapping  into  resources:  statstutor  
  • 13. Tapping  into  resources:  mathcentre  
  • 14. Reflect  on  your  own  students’  needs   •  Do  you  come  across  students  who  need  to   develop  beVer  maths  skills  ?     •  Do  some  of  your  students  choose  quanHtaHve   project  work  ?     •  What  about  when  they  start  looking  for  jobs  ?   What  sort  of  jobs  do  they  do  ?     •  How  could  sigma  evolve  to  help  your  students  ?  
  • 15. Keep  in  touch   •  Join  the  JISCmail  list   •  Subscribe  to  sigma  newsleVer   •  AVend  CETL-­‐MSOR  conference  8/9  September   2014,  Cardiff   •  Take  advantage  of  mathcentre  community   project  for  resource  sharing     17  January  2014