Friday, January 31, 2014

Open Source Textbooks for Introduction to Proofs

It has been a very rewarding experience to move my book, Mathematical Reasoning: Writing and Proof, from the world of commercial publishing to the world of OER (Open Educational Resources).  I have had more contact with users of the textbook (both students and professors) since August than I did for over ten years when the book was commercially published.  It is really nice to know when someone adopts the book for use in their class, and it is especially nice to get messages from students who are grateful that they can obtain a book free of charge or obtain the printed copy for less than $20.

Are Costs of Textbooks Impeding Student Success?

Here is a link to an interesting article by Nicole Allen, OER Program Director for SPARC (Scholarly Publication and Academic Resources Coalition).

http://www.sparc.arl.org/blog/survey-says-textbook-costs-threat-student-success

Friday, January 24, 2014

Portfolio Project in a Proofs Course

In a post on this blog dated August 13, 2013, I expressed my opinions about the importance of writing in the introduction to proofs course.  At Grand Valley State University, our introduction to proofs course, MTH 210 Communicating in Mathematics, is in the university's Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) Program.  Following is a description of this program that I include in my course syllabus.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Couple of Requests

As many of you know, I am the author of a book for the Introduction to Proofs course.  My book is Mathematical Reasoning: Writing and Proof.  I have made this book available to download for free using a Creative Commons License.  You can download the book at the website for the book.  A soft cover version of this book can also be purchased for less than $20 at Amazon.com.

Request #1
Advertising is one of the difficulties with an open-source book.  There are websites that give lists of free textbooks, but there is usually no information from users of the book.  So my request to those of you who have used (or are using) the book to send me a short quote about the book or a longer review of the book.  I would like to include these quotes and reviews on the website for the book.  You can make the quote or or review as a response to this post or you can send it to me at mathreasoning@gmail.com.  If you do so, please include your name and affiliation so that I can include that with the quote or review.  If you prefer to have it be anonymous, just tell me so and I will post it that way.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Updates for Mathematical Reasoning: Writing and Proof

Before I describe a few small updates to the materials that are available for Mathematical Reasoning: Writing and Proof, I would like to remind people to check out the List of Approved Open-Source Textbooks that are available through the American Institute of Mathematics.

In preparing for class this semester, I revised the study guides that are available for Mathematical Reasoning: Writing and Proof.  These guides are available of the web site for the book.  In addition, because "flipping" a proofs course can be a difficult and time-consuming thing to do, I have written short fact-based quizzes for most sections of the textbook.  I usually give these quizzes at the start of class.  (Students are supposed to study the section of the textbook along with the screencasts that are available for the text.)  Instructors who would like to obtain a copy of these quizzes and their solutions, should contact me at mathreasoning@gmail.com.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Open Source Textbook Session at the Joint Meetings

I certainly have not been active with this blog the past couple of months.  I guess other things just go in the way and I let it slide.  The only reason for this post is to inform those that are attending the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore, that I will be give a presentation at the contributed papers session on Open Source Textbooks in Mathematics.  My session will be on Friday January 17 at 10:00 am.  I do not know the location yet.

For those interested in open source textbooks, this should be an interesting session.  The complete list of presentations is:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Too Much Content?

A friend of mine recently posted a link on Facebook to the following blog post:

http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2013/10/19/death-of-math/

This has the provocative title "The Death of Math."  Side note:  The use of the word "math" tends to bug me.  In formal writing and public writing, I always try to use the term "mathematics."

This is a fairly long post and what I want to focus on now is one of the two recommendations Mr. Rubenstein makes to "fix mathematics."  This one is:  Greatly reduce the number of required topics and to expand the topics that remained so they can covered more deeply with thought provoking lessons and activities.  (The second recommendation is to make mathematics beyond the 8th grade into electives.)