Indiana Project NExT Panel Discussion on Inquiry-Based Learning

77d59004fef10003e155461c4c47e037?s=47 Dana Ernst
October 27, 2012

Indiana Project NExT Panel Discussion on Inquiry-Based Learning

We will discuss inquiry based learning, inverted classroom models, peer instruction, and other alternatives to lecture-based instruction. Panelists will give a brief intro of their experience in these areas, followed by an extended time of Q&A with the audience. This panel is open to all meeting participants.

This talk was given on October 27, 2012 as part of the Indiana Project NExT Panel Discussion on Inquiry-Based Learning at the Fall 2012 Indiana MAA Section Meeting.


Dana Ernst

October 27, 2012


  1. Indiana Project NExT Panel Discussion Inquiry-Based Learning October 27, 2012

    Dana C. Ernst Northern Arizona University Email: Web: Twitter: @danaernst & @IBLMath Thanks to Stan Yoshinobu for providing some of the content to the Educational Advancement Foundation for providing travel funding. 1
  2. About me • Assistant professor at Northern Arizona University. •

    PhD from University of Colorado (2008). • Special Projects Coordinator for Academy of Inquiry-Based Learning (AIBL). • Spent 4 years at Plymouth State University prior to NAU. • Number of IBL classes I had as a student: 0 2
  3. What is inquiry-based learning (IBL)? • According to AIBL: ‣

    IBL is a teaching method that engages students in sense- making activities. ‣ Instructor provides well-crafted problems/tasks requiring students to solve problems, conjecture, experiment, explore, create, & communicate. • Key ingredients: Students are responsible for ‣ guiding acquisition of knowledge, and ‣ validating ideas/arguments that are presented. • Example: Modified Moore Method, after R.L. Moore. 3
  4. Continually ask yourself the following question: Guiding Principle of IBL

    Where do I draw the line between content I must impart to my students versus content they can produce independently? 4
  5. • About half of STEM majors switch to non-STEM. •

    Top 4 reasons for switching are teaching related. • Good ones leave, too. • Loss of interest. • Curriculum overload. • Weed-out culture. Talking About Leaving 5 MAA Calculus Study bears this out, as well. See
  6. Some good news: The Colorado study • Comparing IBL vs

    non-IBL university mathematics courses. • Sandra Laursen, CU Boulder. • Statistically significant advantages for students in IBL vs traditional courses. Interview SALG Pre/post tests Transcript Data Gender IBL Non-IBL Class Observation 6
  7. Obstacles • Coverage of material • Class size • Control!

    ‣ If I lecture, then I dictate pace. ‣ If I write something on the board, then there is a good chance that it will be done correctly.
  8. Keys to success • Marketing! ‣ Students have had 12+

    years of direct instruction. They probably don’t like it, but it’s what they are used to. ‣ Students need to understand student & instructor roles. ‣ Students need to know that it is ok to be stuck and that you will support them in this endeavor. • Adjust problems/tasks appropriately. • Patience, trust, and community. Build on positive experiences. • Pick a style that you are comfortable with.
  9. • 5-10 “tasks” are assigned each class meeting (Daily Homework).

    Due at beginning of next class. • Students are responsible for digesting new material outside of class (readings and screencasts). • Nearly all class time devoted to students presenting proposed solutions/proofs to assigned tasks. (30% grade) • Students use felt tip pens to annotate work. • My job: ‣ Facilitate discussion & keep us on track ‣ Mr. Super Positive ‣ Cross my arms and say, “hmmm” • Students may request mini-lectures or screencasts. • Students type up subset of problems from previous week (Weekly Homework), graded harshly. My approach to IBL
  10. Resources • Academy of Inquiry Based Learning • •

    Mentoring • Visiting Speakers Bureau • Small Grants available for developing IBL materials • Journal of Inquiry-Based Learning in Mathematics • • Refereed IBL materials • Legacy of R.L. Moore Conference • • Conference devoted to IBL and the Moore Method