Project Summary: Upper Level Math & Stats Course Exchange

As one possible avenue to expanding curricular offerings for math and stats majors, partner schools in the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning (LACOL) have been exploring ways to remotely share classes using hybrid/online delivery modes.

Math/Stats Pilots: In Spring and Fall of 2017, several LACOL colleges collaborated to pilot three shared course offerings for advanced mathematics and statistics:

  • Putnam Problem Solving, Spring ‘17 (Prof. S. Miller, WIlliams College)
  • Advanced Real Analysis, Fall ‘17 (Prof. S. Garcia, Pomona College)
  • Bayesian Statistics, Fall ‘17 (Prof. M. Hu, Vassar College)

The goal of this exploration is increase the wealth and frequency of the advanced classes our students need, both for graduate study and to delve deeply in the subject.

Learning Design: For these shared courses, each professor opened their course to students across LACOL, sharing lectures, assignments and other class activities through both asynchronous (e.g. recorded lectures and screencasts) and synchronous (e. g. online problem solving sessions and office hours) means.

In these pilots, students reported positive experiences and some adjustments to learning through digital modes:

Before I took Professor Miller’s class, I was already very interested in problem-solving and participating in math competitions […] I was really excited to hear that there was a professor at Williams who was teaching a class on Putnam. I wanted to improve my problem solving skills systematically. The biggest advantage was that I could watch the videos whenever I wanted, and take classes that I otherwise could not fit in my schedule at Swarthmore. I also watched Professor Miller’s other videos, including the ones on number theory or complex analysis, to fill in gaps of my knowledge.
– John Fan, Swarthmore ’19

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