Text messaging as feedback tool in a
large-lecture mathematics course
Bryan Mosher
School of Mathematics
(612) 5 MATH 12
m...
The course: MATH 3283W
-  Sequences, series and foundations (writing-intensive)
-  Mostly math majors and minors
-  Increa...
The problems
-  Increased class size = decreased interaction in
lecture
-  Transition from carrying out algorithms to
cons...
The trial: Google Voice texting
Pre-trial, anticipated pros and cons:
-  Advantages:
- 
- 
- 
- 

Near total saturation, n...
Conversation overview
44 total “conversations”, with 18 unique students
7+7+5+4+4=27 conversations from five students
31 m...
Conversation 1/44
Looking sharp, Mr. Mosher
Thanks for your kind words. See you
Friday. -- BDM
Conversation 8/44
Hi Professor, I have a quick question from math 3282w
class. If we have Universal x followed by 2 existe...
“Universal x followed by 2 existential y and z”

LaTeX code:
$$forall x exists y exists z$$
Conversation 10/44
& is ^? Also, “or” is V when you write it? Why different
notation?
Thanks for the question; sorry I
did...
Conversation 33/44
… Also, im having a hard time unfolding abs(a(n)-b)<epsilon.
The book says this implies b-epsilon < a(n...
a_n vs. a(n)

abs() vs. | |

LaTeX code:
$$|a_n – b|<epsilon$$
$$-epsilon < a_n – b < epsilon$$
$$b - epsilon < a_n < b + ...
Post-semester survey
-  58 students responded (~30%)
-  Only one student reported no cell phone access, and
of the others,...
Comments from students
On math symbols:
-  “It is much more difficult to respond to a math-based
question over text, with ...
Comments from students
On creating a welcoming environment:
-  “I loved how accessible the texting made the
instructor. I ...
Next time around
-  If one student uses it, then it is successful, because
there is very little overhead for the instructo...
Related reading
Corbeil, J.R. & Valdes-Corbeil, M.E. (2007). Are you ready for mobile
learning? EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 30(2)....
Text messaging as feedback tool in a
large-lecture mathematics course
Bryan Mosher
School of Mathematics
(612) 5 MATH 12
m...
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Bryan Mosher: Text Messaging as Feedback Tool 2013 ADT Conference

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Bryan Mosher: Text Messaging as Feedback Tool 2013 ADT Conference

  1. 1. Text messaging as feedback tool in a large-lecture mathematics course Bryan Mosher School of Mathematics (612) 5 MATH 12 mosher@umn.edu
 
 ADT Conference, 4 October 2013
  2. 2. The course: MATH 3283W -  Sequences, series and foundations (writing-intensive) -  Mostly math majors and minors -  Increasing enrollment: 140 à 190
  3. 3. The problems -  Increased class size = decreased interaction in lecture -  Transition from carrying out algorithms to constructing arguments and independent mathematical expression
  4. 4. The trial: Google Voice texting Pre-trial, anticipated pros and cons: -  Advantages: -  -  -  -  Near total saturation, no tech overhead Instructor only sees phone number; essentially anonymous “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Promotes active learning in class -  Disadvantages: -  -  -  -  Adds distraction during class Creates an “on-call” relationship? No mathematical formatting 140 characters = shallow conversation
  5. 5. Conversation overview 44 total “conversations”, with 18 unique students 7+7+5+4+4=27 conversations from five students 31 math-related conversations 11 course-related 2 unrelated
  6. 6. Conversation 1/44 Looking sharp, Mr. Mosher Thanks for your kind words. See you Friday. -- BDM
  7. 7. Conversation 8/44 Hi Professor, I have a quick question from math 3282w class. If we have Universal x followed by 2 existential y and z, do both y & z need to depend on x? Hi – yes, y and z CAN both depend on x, but they don’t NEED to. See you tomorrow. -- BDM
  8. 8. “Universal x followed by 2 existential y and z” LaTeX code: $$forall x exists y exists z$$
  9. 9. Conversation 10/44 & is ^? Also, “or” is V when you write it? Why different notation? Thanks for the question; sorry I didn’t get to it in class. Correct: the book uses ^ and v in section 1, so I want to acknowledge that, but I almost never use the symbols ^ and v; I almost always use & and OR instead. Sorry for any confusion. -- BDM
  10. 10. Conversation 33/44 … Also, im having a hard time unfolding abs(a(n)-b)<epsilon. The book says this implies b-epsilon < a(n) < b+epsilon The intermediate step is -ep < a_n – b < ep. Then add b to everything.…
  11. 11. a_n vs. a(n) abs() vs. | | LaTeX code: $$|a_n – b|<epsilon$$ $$-epsilon < a_n – b < epsilon$$ $$b - epsilon < a_n < b + epsilon$$ ep vs. epsilon
  12. 12. Post-semester survey -  58 students responded (~30%) -  Only one student reported no cell phone access, and of the others, only seven reported not using texts regularly in their personal lives -  15 students reported sending a text to me (i.e. almost every one who did send me a text also completed the survey). -  Of these 15, eight said that they asked a question that they would not have asked using another medium.
  13. 13. Comments from students On math symbols: -  “It is much more difficult to respond to a math-based question over text, with its limited mathematical symbols than on a computer where one can type and if necessary copy and paste a symbol.” -  “It’s just a bit weird for me to use text message asking a math question. I’d rather just go to office hours.” -  “It’s hard to send text messages of mathematical notation.” -  “There’s many math symbols that are hard to input.”
  14. 14. Comments from students On creating a welcoming environment: -  “I loved how accessible the texting made the instructor. I think it encouraged me to ask more questions, because it was so easy.” -  “Often times, I feel like me asking a question is a great burden on a professor. Knowing that Prof. Mosher would let us text him, and even encourage it during class, made me feel very comfortable about approaching him about any questions I had. I would definitely continue this practice, if for no other reason than the inviting image it produces.”
  15. 15. Next time around -  If one student uses it, then it is successful, because there is very little overhead for the instructor. -  Advertise the system more vigorously, and post examples of math shorthand for texting, like sum n=1,inf 1/n^2 = pi^2/6 for LaTeX code: $$sum_{n=1}^infty frac{1}{n^2} = frac{pi^2}{6}$$
  16. 16. Related reading Corbeil, J.R. & Valdes-Corbeil, M.E. (2007). Are you ready for mobile learning? EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 30(2). Hoyles, C. & Lagrange, J.-B. (2013). Mathematics Education and Technology – Rethinking the Terrain. Springer. Motiwalla, L.F. (2007). Mobile learning: A framework and evaluation. Computers and Education, 49(3), 581-596. Stone, A., Briggs, J., & Smith, C. (2002). SMS and interactivity – some results from the field and its implications on effective uses of mobile technologies in educating. Proceedings from WMTE ‘02: IEEE International Workshop on Wireless and Mobile Technologies in Education, 104-108.
  17. 17. Text messaging as feedback tool in a large-lecture mathematics course Bryan Mosher School of Mathematics (612) 5 MATH 12 mosher@umn.edu
 
 ADT Conference, 4 October 2013

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