Seminars

The Mathematics and Statistics Learning Centre conducts research into teaching and learning in addition to its major responsibilities supporting the undergraduate teaching program of the School.

Our research aims to support innovations in teaching and learning, including the implementation of new technologies. As part of this research program we run an Occasional Seminar Series, which incorporates talks by Centre staff as well as invited external speakers.  If you are interested in giving a talk as part of this Series, please email Dr Robert Maillardet, the Series Coordinator, (rjmail@unimelb.edu.au). For seminar announcements, subscribe to the mailing list here.

Previous seminars

Taking care with context: Curating suitable data for teaching statistics
A/Prof Sue Finch (Joint work with Prof Ian Gordon)
29 April 2022

Providing a rich context has become a sine qua non of principled teaching of applied statistics and statistical literacy.  With increasing opportunities to access secondary data via online sources, there should be increasing opportunity to work with rich context.  What do instructors need to consider when looking for genuine data sets?  We share our story of investigating the base R ‘datasets’ package as a source for introductory tertiary level statistics teaching, and what we found when we looked at the source information for four of these (potentially useful) datasets in detail. The failure to describe and retain important contextual information, raises questions about the credibility of the data involved for statistical inference. The curators, distributors and users of these data need to examine, where possible, the primary sources in order to accurately preserve the context and optimize pedagogical opportunities.

Student Relationship Engagement System (SRES): what is it and what can we do with it?
Dr Anthony Morphett, School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne

24 March 2022

SRES (Student Relationship Engagement System) is an online database for storing student data – assignment marks, class attendance, etc – and sending automated, customised emails to targeted students – for instance, everyone who missed a class recently, students who failed the assignment, or students who got full marks on the assignment. SRES was developed by academics at the University of Sydney, and it is available to us thanks to the Faculty of Science. In this presentation, I’ll give a demo of SRES and show how I’ve been using it in Calculus 2 – namely, for recording students’ attendance at tutorials, and then contacting students who are at risk in the lead-up to census date.

Next Generation Tutorial Room Pilot Update/Demo
MSLC staff, School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne
10 November 2021

Abstract: Over the last few weeks the MSLC staff have tested various vendor options for large touchscreen smart boards for pilot deployment in a small number of our tutorial spaces. In our testing we have considered various ways this technology could be deployed in tutorials across our full range of subjects. In this seminar we discuss the various relevant features of the boards and show particular examples of how tutorial and lab activities can be redesigned to make use of these technologies.

Automated Assessment in Mathematics and Statistics - Part 2
Anthony Morphett, School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne
27 October 2021

Abstract: We have used WebWork for automated assessment in some of our large undergraduate subjects for several years now. In this talk, we’ll discuss some of the ways that we use automated, randomised assessment in Calculus 2 and Linear Algebra. This includes scaffolding students through simple proofs and helping develop their mathematical communication as well as practice at routine exercises. I will also demonstrate a new automated assessment platform, Wiris, which is likely to become available as part of the suite of technologies offered by Learning Environments.

Automated Assessment in Mathematics and Statistics - Part 1
John Banks, School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne
13 October 2021

Abstract: We have implemented automated assessment using WebWorK for 3 years now across several subjects (7 subjects in 2021). This talk gives a survey of the ways this has been done in various subjects, focussing particularly on the integration of written and online assessed work in MAST10005 and the use of “step-wise questions” to support learning of multi-step techniques where students experience difficulty choosing the appropriate approach at various steps in the process.In a follow up talk, we will discuss a new automated assessment platform Wiris which is likely to become available as part of the suite of technologies offered by Learning Environments.

Introducing Students to the Community of Mathematicians and Statisticians
Chris Duffy, School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne
29 September 2021

Abstract: Faced with a cohort of MathEd students who didn’t really understand the broader context of the work they were doing in the classroom, I devised an assignment activity to introduce these students to the community of mathematicians and statisticians. I then realised that this activity was (near) zero effort method to introduce students of all kinds to the broader context of their technical studies.

See here for older seminars.