Questions tagged [undergraduate-education]

For questions about teaching students at the undergraduate (university) level.

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8
votes
3answers
607 views

Are the following topics usually in an introductory Complex Analysis class: Julia sets, Fatou sets, Mandelbrot set, etc?

I'm a Nero fan so I'm glad I learned about the Mandelbrot set, but I notice that said topics are not in Brown-Churchill or 'A First Course in Complex Analysis' while they are in Coursera's '...
9
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1answer
172 views

College undergraduate geometry courses

I am interested in learning how a course in geometry is employed today at undergraduate colleges/universities in the U.S. On the one hand, such a course seems to serve as an optional (rarely required) ...
13
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9answers
890 views

Why is absolute value difficult?

My understanding is that students find absolute value to be challenging to learn or understand. Off the top of my head, I can come up with two possible reasons for this. Absolute value is a piecewise ...
15
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7answers
2k views

What are the differences between popular undergraduate abstract algebra books?

I will be teaching a year-long undergraduate introduction to abstract algebra in the fall, and I am quite looking forward to it! I need to choose a textbook, and I don't have personal experience with ...
5
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3answers
345 views

Teaching number theory: geometric approach

Are there any books that are substantially based on a geometric approach to explain topics in number theory (elementary and more advanced)? If so, is such approach -- judging from your teaching (or ...
1
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0answers
37 views

Exercises for explaning homothety, homothetic center, similarity on line and plane, free vector and vector space

I need the collection of exercises for such topics as: maps and transformations, composition of maps homothety, rotation homothety, homothetic center similarities of the line and the plane free ...
6
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1answer
240 views

Where does the compulsive use of three dots come from and should it be discouraged?

There are some students in freshman calculus/even precalculus who compulsively use the three dots $\therefore$ in every single step: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therefore_sign It's not "wrong&...
4
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1answer
166 views

What are some famous problems, which are not difficult to understand, for senior high school students

I hope I am asking my question in the right forum. I am trying to introduce some mathematical problems (Better to be famous in the math community) to a group of senior high school students with a ...
23
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5answers
1k views

How should normal subgroups be introduced?

One standard definition of a normal subgroup is A subgroup $N \subset G$ is normal iff the set of left cosets $\{gN\}$ and right cosets $\{Ng\}$ coincide. There's a class of similar definitions (...
0
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2answers
261 views

Future in mathematics

My sibling is done with high school and has always scored A in Maths and am not in position to advise her on the future in line of her niche. She's not yet in university and she's in her vacation but ...
3
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2answers
125 views

Why are “homogeneous differential equations” in the standard ODE curriculum?

Here I mean a differential equation of the form $y'=f(x,y)$ where for some $\alpha$, we have $f(tx,ty)=t^\alpha f(x,y)$ for every $t$. I have no idea why this topic seems to appear in every ODE ...
4
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0answers
45 views

Looking for papers with teaching-oriented style

I am looking for papers that have the similar style to Hervé Lehning's 1989 The American Mathematical Monthly article "From Experimentation to Proof" (PDF link via lehning.eu). It's like ...
3
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4answers
299 views

When does thinking $(-8)^{1/3} = -2$ result in problems for an undergraduates?

In high school we learn that the cube root of $-8$ is $-2$. Much later some of us learn about the single valued natural logarithm of a complex number, and that $w^z = e^{z\cdot Lz(w)}$ when $w$ and $z$...
14
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6answers
217 views

Books/(auto)biographies/references on how mathematicians study/studied (as students)?

As Geoff Pointer commented: [...] As a composer I've learnt a lot from studying famous composers why wouldn't that also apply to studying maths and mathematicians of note as well? [...] Are there ...
16
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4answers
489 views

What are some good ways to motivate and introduce reasoning abstractly about abstract algebra?

I've found one of the hardest topics to introduce to students early on is abstract algebra. Even if they've already written proofs, it's hard for them to work directly from axioms. They seem to have ...
26
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4answers
522 views

Alternatives to University Lectures: Non-lecture Mathematics Classes

I am looking for resources for designing undergraduate mathematics classes that are not lecture-based. (Bonus points if the design is for an introduction to proof course). For example, Robert ...
3
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1answer
174 views

How much literature research should one do when designing a course?

For each mathematical subject on the undergraduate level there are many textbooks, often with quite different approaches to the subject. Some are just concise and rigorous, some focus on examples, ...
6
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5answers
171 views

Question formats for online tests, to deter cheating

I'm teaching calculus 1 online this term and anticipate being plagued by the perennial problem of cheaters. I have seen suggestions for how to arrange the testing time to accommodate for traditional ...
10
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2answers
203 views

When to encourage students to read mathematical literature written in English (in non-English speaking countries)?

There is a lot of mathematical literature in some non-English languages (French, German, Spanish, etc.) that students from these countries don't need to read English literature (at least) for their ...
22
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4answers
541 views

Keeping quicker students engaged and interested throughout a course

In a college math course one is bound to find a fairly broad range of students in terms of their quickness in understanding the material. This is due to many reasons, including differing mathematical ...
23
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4answers
2k views

How should one tutor a student in undergraduate real analysis?

I am an undergraduate. Other undergraduates sometimes ask me to tutor them in an introductory real analysis course that covers the equivalent of the first half-dozen chapters of Rudin's Principles of ...
10
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0answers
122 views

tutorial active learning

This is a question I asked on [Academia.se]. It did not get an answer, so I am re-posting it here. In the country where I live, university students studying mathematics usually attend lectures, ...
23
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5answers
963 views

Inability to work with an arbitrary mathematical object

This question is motivated by student responses to homework and quiz problems I have recently posed in an undergraduate real analysis course. I will share some examples and observations first, to ...
21
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8answers
4k views

What is the point of teaching variance?

I am a teaching assistant for a sophomore engineering laboratory. We use standard deviation a lot during the semester. It is an incredibly useful concept that can be used in a lot of engineering ...
4
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2answers
133 views

Teaching Approach at primary, middle and higher level

I would like to have a comparison or a big picture of how and why the approach for teaching math varies from primary (or pre primary) to middle to higher classes. I understand at every level one ...
31
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12answers
6k views

Should college mathematics always be taught in such a way that real world applications are always included?

I am teaching Linear Algebra this semester with the textbook Introduction to Linear Algebra by Serge Lang and most (perhaps all?) my students are not majoring in mathematics. As I was carefully ...
7
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3answers
259 views

Transitioning proof based math courses online

I'd love to learn from anyone's recent experiences teaching online proof based math courses, especially those that have a large group of students who will be working asynchronously. My usual proof ...
9
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2answers
471 views

Fear of notation and hazily-appeared writing in Mathematics

I am looking for literature related to fear of notation in mathematics. It is even heard that the font size and font type make a reader reluctant to study mathematical literature, often lecture notes,...
2
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1answer
168 views

Teaching Quantifiers Before Logical Connectives

In this short question, I would like to ask whether it is possibly good to teach quantifier before logical connectives in a logic introduction lecture? I know there is a relationship between them but ...
24
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6answers
1k views

What are the best practices for giving online tests?

Many of us our coming off our first semester of required-online classes; and at some of our institutions we are preparing for what is most likely a required-online semester in the fall. (That is: The ...
72
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20answers
18k views

Impressive common misleading interpretations in statistics to make students aware of

Statistics are used everywhere; politicians, companies, etc. argue with the help of statistics. Since calculations are needed for the interpretation of statistics, such things should be taught in ...
7
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1answer
249 views

Research for Video Length for Math Videos

I'm looking for any references that exist for what a good video length for an online math class should be. I am aware of these three papers but these are basically only for MOOCs - I'm looking for ...
6
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6answers
1k views

How to get better at proofs

As an undergrad student of applied mathematics, I have something to say that make's me ashamed of myself. I suck at proving things in mathematics and i know that if I don't get better in doing this ...
7
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2answers
403 views

How much more skilled in the topic should you be in order to teach the topic?

For sake of argument, consider that skill of a topic is spectrum from "new and learner" to "experienced and expert." Where should you relatively be in order to teach the topic ...
2
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2answers
377 views

Do you mention the continuity and the differentiability of the empty function

My main question is directly related to the title: "Do you mention that (in its domain) the empty function is everywhere continuous and everywhere discontinuous?" (and a similar question ...
10
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1answer
165 views

What is a good place for teachers to share self-created content?

I am a high school mathematics teacher and I regularly create problems and their solutions for my students. It has always lingered in my mind that this content can also benefit others. What would be a ...
0
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2answers
133 views

Would it make sense for math courses to be pass/fail?

I have a theory that if standardized grading were abolished for a pass/fail system, people would be more mathematically competent. Bear with me here. With graded homework, especially homeworks that ...
13
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11answers
4k views

When do college students learn rigorous proofs?

I teach in a regional university. In my department, students take their "proof course" (a course that sole focus on writing proofs) in the third or even fourth year. All the courses before ...
10
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11answers
4k views

Ideas for explaining 4D and higher dimensions

I introduced the hypercube (to undergraduate students in the U.S.) in the context of generalizations of the Platonic solids, explained its structure, showed it rotating. I mentioned Alicia Stott, who ...
9
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5answers
374 views

About the effectiveness of self-studying maths (compared with other subjects)

An important feature of mathematics is that it is relatively easy (compare to many other subjects) to know whether or not one's understanding is correct. There are plenty of ways to check: one can ...
14
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2answers
313 views

The use of “$\therefore$” and “$\because$”

In schools, many students learn the usage of "$\therefore$" and "$\because$" in proofs. Such three-dot notation are popular in many high-school books and exams, but are almost ...
17
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4answers
3k views

What are some of the open problems that can be suitably introduced in a calculus course?

I feel it may be a good idea to introduce some related open problems in a calculus course. Surely I am not expecting my students to solve any one of them, though I cannot say it is absolutely ...
16
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5answers
4k views

(How) Do American undergraduate math programs teach complex numbers?

What kind of exposure to complex numbers can you expect in mathematics majors at American colleges? I teach at a very large public university. It occurred to me that it is possible to graduate in ...
36
votes
12answers
4k views

Beautiful planar geometry theorems not encountered in high school

I would like to impress college students (undergraduates in the U.S.) that there is more to planar geometry beyond what they learned in high school. I would like to show them beautiful theorems they ...
10
votes
1answer
320 views

How, now, shall we teach math online?

Now that everyone has had the experience of teaching math in an online/remote/synchronous/asynchronous format, and looking forward to more of this in the Summer and Fall terms, how do we change our ...
29
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5answers
2k views

The best way to introduce trigonometric functions in a rigorous analysis course

This is something I have always had issues with. Generally, three approaches are used: The geometric path: this follows the standard way how you would introduce these functions in school. The problem ...
17
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3answers
1k views

Computational topology for engineers

Increasingly, I see computational topology being applied to problems involving sensor networks, robotics, data analysis, signal processing and various other areas. The topics I mention are interesting ...
4
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0answers
106 views

How must the “ungrading” idea be adapted to work in a math class?

After seeing no direct responses to this question, I'll instead be more direct myself. Ungrading is a buzzword being tossed about for assessing students' progress without focusing on quantitative ...
7
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2answers
551 views

Resources for undergraduate knot theory

I am going to teach a 400-level topics class on knot theory at an American, mid-sized, public university. Prerequisites include multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and a proof course, but no ...
5
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1answer
120 views

Resources for improving computational skills at the high school/university transition

Teaching first year undergraduates, I've noticed that what gives them the most trouble is simple computations like factoring, expanding, handling fractions, powers, especially when variables and other ...

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