ED534 - Topics: Mathematics Curriculum Development (Online)
Arcadia University
Spring 2011

Instructor: Dr. Maria Droujkova
Phone: 919-388-1721
Skype: maria_droujkova

Short description

Hello, I am Maria Droujkova, your guide for the ED534 Arcadia University online course. Welcome to the adventures in math curriculum development!

This fast-paced, highly interactive online course introduces participants to curriculum development ideas of the last decade, concepts from the near future, and tried-and-true classics. All course tasks happen live in vibrant, growing online educator communities. Research topics of the course contribute to current events and ongoing hot disputes in mathematics education. Throughout the course, participants will only use free and open educational resources, software and communication platforms, contributing to their teaching and learning toolkit. Course themes include:
  • Learning fundamental ideas of algebra, geometry, calculus, and statistics
  • Meaning and significance of mathematics
  • Problem-posing, problem-solving and modeling
  • Math 2.0: computational software and social media
  • Humanistic mathematics
  • Psychology of mathematics education for curriculum development


Assignments and grades

The goal of the course is for you to expand the set of ideas and tools for helping others learn meaningful math. Toward this goal, every week you will take some tools developed by others and reflect on them, and you will make and share some of your own.

The schedule of each week is organized by dates and types of activities. The assignments are short and, hopefully, sweet, but there are many of them and they involve a lot of live participation in events or projects. Keep up with the pace of the course! Weeks of assignments end and begin at midnight on Sundays.

Head to the assessment page for a more detailed discussion of assignments and grades.

Communication, technical skills and required materials

This course uses web as a platform: your coursework will happen at many different sites. You will need to set up accounts on the sites and services we use. Some people prefer to have separate personal and professional accounts on social sites. Here is the starter technology to-do list:

  1. Join the course's wiki (link)
  2. Make a blog if you do not have one (use WordPress or BlogSpot)
  3. Join the email group


Several new technology tools will appear every week of the course. Depending on your experience with online tools, be prepared to spend a significant chunk of your course time learning the technology.

There are no textbooks for this course. We will use existing OERs (open educational resources) and materials we make. If you have learned how to use email, you will be able to learn how to use all technical parts of this course. Just give yourself enough time, as needed, and ask for assistance as soon as you feel stuck.

I select tools for their ease of use, though your opinion on this may be different. All sites and software we use in the course are open and free. Here are examples of technical activities you may need for course tasks:
  • Use blog search to find a relevant discussion
  • Participate in a live chat using Twitter
  • Install a screen capture program and use it to highlight experiences at the interactive web sites you visit
  • Download and install GeoGebra modeling software
  • Modify a spreadsheet formula to work for a different type of activity

You can expect to spend 10-20 hours a week on the course, depending on the week and on how you interpret the assignments.

You need reliable, high-speed internet access for most of the course work. For many parts, you will need a headset with a microphone. Cheap headsets ($10-15) should be sufficient for what we do.


Kung Fu master, from Flame Warriors by Mike Reed

The content you create should be valuable to you and to other mathematics educators. Most course tasks will be live online, which means students (including children) and other educators will see and use the content you create for the course.

You can use your real name and real photo, or an alias and an avatar, for course work. I need to connect your aliases to your name. It will help us find one another if you use the same or similar aliases on different blogs, forums and sites.

You will need some situational awareness about the formality of your English. For example, article comments should probably be formal, with full sentences and the standard grammar. Twitter chats can benefit from typical online abbreviations, such as "PLN" for "personal learning network" or "u" for "you."

I expect you to quickly (within hours) tell me if something in the course does not work for you. If an assignment does not make sense, if you don't know how to start, if you see a link going nowhere, if you can't resolve a group assignment conflict - please do get in touch quickly. If you "don't get it" it usually means something is broken with the course and needs to be fixed for everybody's benefit. Be a hero - ask a question!

You can find Arcadia University code of conduct in the student handbook.

Some of the tasks involve critiquing the work of others, or evaluating materials, communities or programs. This can easily hurt. Here are a few suggestions for constructive discussions:
  • Focus on content, not personalities. Constructive work is personal and lovable in its own right, and people behind it are better supported through discussions of the work, not themselves.
  • You may experience, first-hand, some skirmishes of ongoing math wars. Avoid hurting people, even in retaliation for horrible breaches of conduct. Instead, gently stop their behaviors if you can, ask for moderator support, and in case it happens in an unfriendly forum, leave.
  • When in doubt about posting something, consider that people will search the web for your name as a part of making job and collaboration decisions.

I fully expect you to reuse other people's work in your assignments, extensively. When you do, please link and reference the sources, respect intellectual property laws, and contribute enough of your own content when the task calls for it.