Innovative Teaching at Penn State (ITAP) Brown Bag Lunch Series: Creation of Math 140/1B for Life Science Majors
Presented by Eric Simring, Amine Benkiran and Andrew Baxter
Thursday, 10/4/2018, 12:05 - 1:20 p.m.
Mann Assembly Room, Paterno Library and via Zoom

This series of talks will highlight interesting teaching innovations at Penn State. The goals is to help further build a community of instructors who are interested in improving learning by their students. All are welcome and feel free to bring your lunch.

Creation of Math 140/1B for Life Science Majors will be presented by Eric Simring, Amine Benkiran, and Andrew Baxter on Thursday, October 4, from 12:05 to 1:20 p.m., in Mann Assembly Room, Paterno Library.

The creation of Math 140B and 141B (biocalculus) has seen dramatic increases in student success and preparedness for later coursework.  Prior to the establishment of the B-sequence, the standard 140/141 sequence regularly had a DFW (students earning a D, F, or withdrawing) rate of 45% and one of 56% for life science majors. The B-sequence has lowered that DFW to 15% without sacrificing the quality of the students' preparedness, while the standard sequence has maintained a similar DFW rate. These data include many other positive effects when the populations are analyzed by gender, by race, and by success in later courses. This biocalculus sequence is not a diluted version of Math 140/141, but rather a more obviously applicable version that would motivate students' engagement more than a traditional course.  In-class assignments and assessments prioritized sense-making and interpreting results over memorizing formulas and executing intricate computations quickly. Peer Learning Assistants and other evidence-based teaching methods were used.

For those unable to attend in person, the talk will be available via zoom  at: