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.
Indiana Project NExT
October 27, 2012
Dana C. Ernst
Northern Arizona University
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @danaernst & @IBLMath
Thanks to Stan Yoshinobu for providing some of the content to the Educational Advancement
Foundation for providing travel funding.
• Assistant professor at Northern Arizona University.
• PhD from University of Colorado (2008).
• Special Projects Coordinator for Academy of Inquiry-Based
• Spent 4 years at Plymouth State University prior to NAU.
• Number of IBL classes I had as a student: 0
What is inquiry-based learning (IBL)?
• According to AIBL:
‣ IBL is a teaching method that engages students in sense-
‣ 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.
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?
• About half of STEM majors
switch to non-STEM.
• Top 4 reasons for switching are
• Good ones leave, too.
• Loss of interest.
• Curriculum overload.
• Weed-out culture.
Talking About Leaving
MAA Calculus Study bears this out, as well. See
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
• Coverage of material
• Class size
‣ 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.
Keys to success
‣ 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
• Pick a style that you are comfortable with.
• 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
• Academy of Inquiry Based Learning
• 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