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ICTCM 2013 Presentation -- Dan DuPort

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Presentation on Teaching Quantitative Methods using Excel workbook courseware. -- at the 25th International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics, Boston, March 21 - 24, 2013. A Pearson Education event.

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ICTCM 2013 Presentation -- Dan DuPort

  1. 1. Academic background in Mathematics (Logic and Foundations) MS, BA, AS Teaching Background: 6 years at American Universities, undergraduate mathematics; 5 years at European Business Schools, undergraduate and graduate, quantitative subjects. 20+ years of software development experience Recent Publication DuPort, Dan (2012) "Teaching quantitative methods to business and soft science students by using interactive workbook courseware," Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE): Vol. 5: Iss. 2, Article 3. Available at http://epublications.bond.edu.au/ejsie/vol5/iss2/3/
  2. 2. QIWCourseware Quantitative Interactive Workbook Courseware (in Excel) Current modules are in: Linear Programming Mathematics of Finance Probabilistic Descriptive Statistics Short demonstrations of these modules will be given during the presentation. Free 30+ page 1st chapters; MAC or PC; Excel 2011 or higher required for Mac, 2010 or higher for PC Download from http://duport.com
  3. 3. True Technology Enhanced Learning QIWC can provide a true form of TEL which I call I V C C LEARNING Interactive, Visual, Categorical, Continuous These ideas are brought forth and backed by research in my article in the eJSiE. Briefly the ideas are:
  4. 4. I V C C LEARNING Interactive, Visual, Categorical, Continuous Interactive is the most essential, engaging the student and leading the way to discovery.
  5. 5. I V C C LEARNING Interaction, Visual, Categorical, Continuous Interactive is the most essential, engaging the student and leading the way to discovery. Visual - more can be covered in less space and time (picture = 1000 words)
  6. 6. I V C C LEARNING Interaction, Visual, Categorical, Continuous Interactive is the most essential, engaging the student and leading the way to discovery. Visual - more can be covered in less space and time (picture = 1000 words) Categorical makes generalization possible, allowing the mastery of the theory.
  7. 7. I V C C LEARNING Interaction, Visual, Categorical, Continuous Interactive is the most essential, engaging the student and leading the way to discovery. Visual - more can be covered in less space and time (picture = 1000 words) Categorical makes generalization possible, allowing the mastery of the theory. Continuous – smoothness makes the student comfortable, as if being told a story.
  8. 8. IVCC is the base that most have envisioned or at least can agree with. For teaching quantitative methods, another I is added - for Illustrative quantitative method. A quantitative method is illustrative (of a theory) means that it illustrates the theory (why it works) when it is used.
  9. 9. So we really have IVCCI learning theory. My QIWC features IVCCI plus elimination (or minimization) of algebraic manipulation. These manipulations are replaced by the use of interactive tools which illustrate the quantitative methods used to solve problems (or examine situations).
  10. 10. Here are three theses that I believe can be proved. Doing-Optimization: If a subject is best learned by doing an illustrative quantitative method, then by simplifying the doing of the method, the learning is enhanced (optimized). Quantitative-Doing: Quantitative subjects are best learned by doing quantitative methods that are illustrative of, and categorical within, the subject.
  11. 11. Formulation and Interpretation (F&I): When a subject is learned by methodology that is illustrative of, and categorical within, the subject, all forms of formulation within, and interpretation of, the subject are learned from the methodology indirectly through recollection and analogy. The F&I thesis signifies that the emphasis of subject instruction need only be on solution methodology. It also sheds light on the classical question of “Which is harder, formulating the problem, or using, or choosing, a method to solve the problem?”
  12. 12. Statistics: For statistics, the idea of a quantitative method must be extended to include data visualization. In a recent survey 70% of a group of statisticians thought of visualization of data as a statistical quantitative method. Linear programming: The TVLP tool is the best example of all that has been stated.
  13. 13. Mathematics of Finance: Using Excel’s built in recursion features to illustrate compound interest and annuities circumvents classical diagraming of finance problems. Diagramming has nothing to do with the methodology of solving these problems but comes about naturally from recursive illustrations. The understanding of the recursive nature of the methods makes the diagramming instantaneous in the mind of the learner.
  14. 14. WHY QIWC Best training in Excel and in the way Excel is used in the subject is provided. Every student will encounter Excel in the workplace. By studying subjects written in QIWC, the student learns how Excel is used to work in the subjects. This is akin to apprenticeship learning and learning in context. It also gives the students practical and general experience in Excel
  15. 15. WHY QIWC (cont.) Ubiquitous media – low cost (Student Office & Home < 100$) Quantitative subjects are easily framed in Excel Modifications can be made easily by the instructor to provide localization and personal slant, taste
  16. 16. PEDAGOGY
  17. 17. Methods of instruction Lecture / Lab style classes In the lab setting, lecture takes place around the projected courseware and incorporates in- class activities of the follow-along type. A real lab setting using lab computers works best, but students can bring laptops to a conventional classroom if a lab is unavailable. Student maturity is necessary. Autonomous work-time can be fit in.
  18. 18. “No laptops in class” method This works for immature students that will not follow along on their laptops – but instead surf the web, work on other assignments, show pictures of their friends to other class members, etc.. Still, the homework is performed on the laptop at home; lecture is given using the courseware.
  19. 19. Remote instruction • Use of the courseware is explained. • The students download the courseware to their home computers and work at their own pace. • Support is provided by the instructor via email, online chat. • Intermediate meeting is necessary, around the midterm is appropriate. • This method can involve many more instructor hours than the others, yet it can provide valuable one-to-one instruction.
  20. 20. Homework Simplest possible collection and correction The student workbook (< 1.5 MB) is emailed to the instructor. The current problem sets are corrected and a grade recorded in approximately 1 minute per student. This quickness is obtainable because the exercises are done within a uniform format across the student workbooks, so they are easily viewed and evaluated within the email editor. Solution sets are posted online after the homework is due.
  21. 21. Accumulative Assessment An accumulative assessment of a student’s work is always at hand by viewing the latest workbook submission. Additionally, the workbooks benefit the student in reviewing for an exam and also help facilitate the use of the tools in future courses; if the QIWC is extensive, the workbooks can be used as an auxiliary base for working in future courses.
  22. 22. Cheating The workbooks can be secretly internally coded to expose copying of worksheets and submission of others homework. I have found this unnecessary as most will do their own work. Those that don’t are easily exposed on the first exam.
  23. 23. Exams (on site) Paper Exams I’ve found the need to give paper exams to classes where the exams are proctored. The paper exam tests as well as the exam on computer. The exam questions can ask for the outline of procedures for performing certain tasks, like writing the Excel formulas for the standard deviation of a data set given in value, frequency format, in Statistics. In the mathematics of finance, it is a simple switch for the students to perform calculations using a calculator on the exams; or requiring that they just set up formulas and not evaluate them.
  24. 24. Paper Exams (cont.) Creative and meaningful questions can be asked to find if the students not only did the exercises assigned, but also if they actually understand the theory behind what they’ve done. Assessment does not suffer from the switch to paper; in fact, the paper exam can provide a more meaningful measure of the mastery of theory than the exam on computer.
  25. 25. Exams on computer This works best if the instructor is present during the exam. Care must be taken for power outages and machine failures. Cheating via passing USB keys or internet connection must be guarded against. In small classes (less than 40) the instructor can evaluate the exam, and give the student grades instantaneously as they finish. This provides instant gratification for the student and less work for the instructor.

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