Creating Materials

In creating our materials we tried to adhere to the following philosophy:

  • Students need to read mathematics in order to write good mathematics.  Thus, a text component is essential.
  • The text is there to teach students what good mathematical writing looks like.  The burden of explanation does not lie on the text alone, so the text should be rigorous and concise. 
  • The video is there to go behind the scenes of a concise write-up and to offer visual and conceptual insights.  The video examines the thought process that goes into writing a proof.
  • Text and videos should not be redundant of each other.  They should complement each other.

Check out a demo of our materials here.

The One-room Schoolhouse (ORS) Model

ORS is the name we gave to an experimental practice of combining multiple low-enrollment courses in one classroom with a single instructor.  The ORS model is currently being used by the Mathematics Department at Ohio Dominican University to ensure that a good variety of upper-level mathematics courses run regularly.

Flipping the Classroom

In order to conduct multiple classes in the same classroom, we flipped the courses.  The term flipping refers to the practice of taking the lecture out of the classroom by assigning video and other multimedia presentations for students to watch at home, and using class time for what is traditionally considered to be homework.  Taking lecture out of the classroom allows the instructor to focus on individual questions and small-group discussions, making the number of classes present in the same classroom immaterial.

Our Findings

  • Students enjoy the flipped classroom environment; they love working with classmates on problem sets, and they like having the instructor in the room to answer questions and offer guidance.
  • Students enjoy the flipped classroom materials; they like the combination of text and short videos.  The majority of students read most of what is in the text and watch all of the videos. (This information is based on an anonymous survey.)
  • Combining different levels of students in the same classroom, promotes a sense of community among lower and upper-level students in the same major, and creates a sense of interconnectedness of material.  After taking a course in the ORS setting one student wrote, "I love the setting.  I suppose for some, another class talking about different things could be distracting.  For me, it's just motivating.  Now I know that I want to take that class next."
  • Students appreciate the fact that their scheduling needs are being taken into account.
  • Instructor's focus shifts from preparing and delivering lectures to providing constant assessment and feedback.

Motivation for ORS

Frequent course cancellations due to low enrollment, and lack of variety of upper-level courses can be detrimental to students, faculty and the program.  ORS is a cost-effective solution for increasing  frequency and variety of upper-level offerings.  ORS optimizes course sequencing and selection for each student, and enables timely or early degree completion and better career preparation.

Our Experience

We have utilized ORS since the Fall of 2012.

The following courses have been developed:

MTH 160: Precalculus

MTH 241: Calculus II

MTH 300:  Foundations in Mathematics

MTH 450:  Abstract Algebra

MTH 460:  Geometry

MTH 485:  Elementary Topology