Friday, September 18, 2015

Joint Mathematics Meetings - Seattle in January

I think I'd like to present. I've never done that at the JMM. I'd like your help. Here's (my second draft of) what I've written for my proposed abstract: 
Have you seen your students disengage from your calculus class in the first week as they struggle with the technical topic of limits? They don’t see the point, get mired in the algebra and can become alienated. I will share why I save limits for later and start out with an exciting and historical approach using slope and velocity.

But perhaps your textbook, like mine, follows a traditional approach? I will also share how I used parts of two Open Education Resources (OER) by Matt Boelkins and Dale Hoffman, along with a few pages I created, to make a coursepack for my first unit. [Link to modifiable materials provided at talk, or by email.] Their materials gave my students the support they needed in our excursions off the traditional textbook’s beaten path.

I’ll help you see why there’s a better order to the topics. (It’s not just the limits.) And I’ll show you one way to make Calculus fun for yourself and your students.

You can use the experiences I share in my talk as inspiration to help you get started remixing OER to develop your own approach and materials. Using these materials in a coursepack alongside the required text may also be a way to show your reluctant department that they don’t need the $200-plus conventional textbooks.

  •  Have I said enough to make it clear what I have to offer?
  • What more should I say?
  • What should I change?
  • Would you come to my talk?

(My deadline is in 4 days.)  


  1. I want to come to your session! And I want to see your materials! Are you willing to share? Thanks!

  2. Yes, I'll share. In fact, I'm happy to share now. You can email me at

    The strand my proposed talk would be a part of is titled The Development and Adoption of Open Educational Resources for Teaching and Learning. Open Educational Resources (OER) are about sharing freely. There are two main ways people reserve some rights while still sharing freely, copyleft and creative commons.

    There are two meanings to the word free here. (Read more about copyleft and meanings of free here: One is that you don't pay. Students will have to pay for a paper copy, but that will always be very affordable. And online copies are free that way. The other meaning of free is about freedom to make changes. Both meanings are important to me. I hate how much students pay for commercial textbooks. And I am so grateful to be able to use Matt Boelkins' and Dale Hoffman's materials in the way I want to. They each gave me modifiable files. I can mix topics up, rewrite sentences, and leave out exercises. I'm building my own materials from theirs.

    I think you've helped me clarify for myself how my talks fits the theme. Thanks for your comment and question. I hope to meet you at the meeting. ;^)

  3. Hi, I would like very much to know more about your approach for teaching limits (I like your abstract, it woke up my interest). But I won't be able to come to the meeting. Would you please send me your materials? Thanks and enjoy the meeting.

  4. Monica, I don't do anything exciting with limits - it's the other parts that I find exciting. I can't see your email. (I think you probably typed it in. But I don't get to see it.) Please email me at for a copy of my stuff.


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