1. Stan Yoshinobu
  2. http://www.inquirybasedlearning.org
  3. Professor
  4. PROfessional Development and Uptake through Collaborative Teams (PRODUCT) Supporting Inquiry Based Learning in Undergraduate Mathematics
  5. http://www.inquirybasedlearning.org/workshops/
  6. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, University of Colorado Boulder, Academy of Inquiry Based Learning
  1. Sandra Laursen
  2. http://www.colorado.edu/eer/people
  3. Senior research associate & co-director
  4. PROfessional Development and Uptake through Collaborative Teams (PRODUCT) Supporting Inquiry Based Learning in Undergraduate Mathematics
  5. http://www.inquirybasedlearning.org/workshops/
  6. University of Colorado Boulder
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2018 | 11:15 p.m.

    Hi all! I'm Stan Yoshinobu, and I am a math professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. My team and I are excited to share our project, called PRODUCT, which is focused on spreading inquiry-based learning methods in college math courses. We do this by expanding the professional development capacity of the math profession, based on our successful IBL Workshop model. We know students in STEM are far too often not able to complete their degrees, because they can't pass math courses. While all students gain in IBLWomen and underrepresented minorities especially benefit from active, student-centered teaching, such as IBL. 

    Please watch the video and join the discussion about IBL, IBL Workshops, and helping students succeed. Thank you!

  • Icon for: Jessica Chapman

    Jessica Chapman

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2018 | 11:48 a.m.

    This sounds like a really neat project! What level/types of math courses has your project been addressing? Thanks!

     
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    Stan Yoshinobu
  • Icon for: Sandra Laursen

    Sandra Laursen

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 03:35 p.m.

    hi Jessica,

    I'll add to Stan's response:  evaluation data indicates that the workshops' "big tent" approach to inquiry-based learning is important in helping participants recognize that they'll need to adapt the general IBL principles to their own course and student audience.  The facilitator team members' experiences, and the collection of materials gathered to support a variety of courses, together provide lots of examples of specific ways instructors can accomplish those principles.

     
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    Jessica Chapman
  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 12:12 p.m.

    Hi Jessica - thanks for the comment! We have been working on a wide range of courses, and help math faculty participants prepare for a target course. The range includes precalculus, calculus, stats, math for elementary teachers, and upper division courses. 

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    Volker Ecke

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2018 | 02:55 p.m.

    I enjoyed seeing the variety of classrooms with students being actively engaged in their groups or presenting their ideas on the blackboards.  Thank you for showing the breadth of approaches: students presenting, students creating posters in their groups, etc.  As a teacher, it highlights for me the challenging task of deciding what particular components could make sense in what kinds of situations; likely depends on target audience, culture at the institution, goals and meta-goals for the students, the teacher's strengths, etc.  It sounds like the workshops are designed to help individuals with that.  Given the recognition that changing a whole system of teaching (classroom activities, classroom format, goals, meta-goals, assessments, ...) is a significant undertaking, the goal of building a larger community of faculty who can support such professional development seems like a central component in broadening student success in mathematics specifically, and thereby in STEM, as well.   I appreciate all the work you are doing.  Hoping to contribute my skills and passion!  Many thanks!

     
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  • Icon for: Sandra Laursen

    Sandra Laursen

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:35 p.m.

    We ❤️ your skills and passion, Volker!

     
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  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:59 p.m.

    Agreed! Thank you, Volker for the great comments and contributions to the IBL community!

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    Matthew Jones

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2018 | 04:15 p.m.

    Professional development like this is a necessary component for transforming collegiate math instruction. Learning new instructional skills takes time and support. Thanks for putting together this video!

     
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    Stan Yoshinobu
  • Icon for: Louis Gross

    Louis Gross

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 04:46 p.m.

    Stan et al., 

    Thanks for an informative summary of the IBL methods and introduction to how you have been developing methods to facilitate teachers to use these methods in math classes. Since you are dealing with many different courses at different levels, can you say anything yet about whether there are differences in methods for either IBL or for those teaching using this approach that enhance the effectiveness at different levels. Does student maturity affect results - e.g. comparing perhaps students with more life experience attending schools compared to those just out of high school? Also can you refer us to a couple of reviews of the evaluation of IBM in different math levels?

    Thanks,

           Lou 

     
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    Stan Yoshinobu
  • Icon for: Sandra Laursen

    Sandra Laursen

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:25 p.m.

    hi Lou,

    Great questions!  We don't have enough studies of IBL at the college level to have review articles yet, but we do have some prior research evidence that points to differences in student outcomes of participating in IBL classes at different stages of the  math curriculum.  I'd characterize it as intriguing rather than definitive. 

     

    On surveys, students in first-year IBL courses report higher gains than do students in courses later in the curriculum.  Students find the first-year courses an exciting intellectual experience that differs from what they have experienced in high school; it seems to raise their sights on what college is all about. They also report that thinking clearly and logically through a problem or proof and having to explain themselves is very relevant to their other college courses where they are writing papers. 

     

    We also have some data showing that students who have a first-year IBL experience take more math courses than do their peers in lecture-based courses.  We don't see a persistence effect for students taking IBL later, but it's also harder to fish it out for this group-- they have fewer courses left to take and are more likely already committed to finishing the math major, vs. the first-year students who have more room to choose in or out.  

     

    Students taking IBL courses later in their major report being reinvigorated - they remember why they like math; it's fun again.  Also within these later courses, we have some evidence that initially lower-performing students - those with lower GPAs coming into the IBL course - see greater improvement to their subsequent math grades than do their higher-GPA peers or their low-GPA peers in the comparative, lecture-based course.  The courses get harder and most students' grades tend to drop a bit, but not for this group. They are taking something with them that is of lasting value - a change in their study habits or ways of learning math (we don't know the details of what they are doing differently, just that their grades go up - would love to follow up on this).   I will also note that building student good will is an important teacher role at any age and stage.

     

    Laursen (2013) has a good summary of findings including the first-year vs more advanced student data; Kogan & Laursen (2014) has the grade and persistence data - full references at the link below.

    https://www.colorado.edu/eer/research-areas/student-centered-stem-education/inquiry-based-learning-college-mathematics

     
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  • Icon for: Louis Gross

    Louis Gross

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 07:25 p.m.

    Thanks so much for this detailed reply. Given how difficult it is to get definitive results in studies without a huge amount of longitudinal data what you've found is very enticing. Beyond course grades and how many courses students take, are you aware of any efforts to expand on the results on concept inventories? In calculus it was Epstein who developed the Calc Concept Inventory and published results indicating that essentially any active participation produced beneficial results in the inventory relative to traditional teaching methods. This is another possible metric to assess impacts of interventions and teaching modalities.

    Cheers,

          Lou

     
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  • Icon for: Sandra Laursen

    Sandra Laursen

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:11 a.m.

    It would be fun to do a study with a good, validated concept inventory.  Unfortunately Epstein died before he could publish a validation of the CCI.  If the workshops succeed in supporting enough faculty to use and thrive in teaching with IBL, someday maybe we'll have the large comparative sample sizes from a single course that are needed to do that kind of study.  Our studies so far have used more general measures that can be applied across multiple courses.

     
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    Elizabeth Thoren

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2018 | 11:43 a.m.

    I'm two weeks into summer break and seeing all those active IBL classrooms is making me miss teaching already!  Great video, Stan!  Can't wait for the workshops this summer!

     
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    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 04:06 p.m.

    Thanks Elizabeth! Looking forward to summer 2018 workshops!

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    Amy Ksir

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2018 | 01:15 p.m.

    I am super excited to be part of this team!  There is a lot of interest among faculty in using these methods, but it can be very daunting.  Participation in these workshops gives faculty the tools they need to start and persist.  Inquiry-based learning really can change students' lives!

     
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  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 04:08 p.m.

    Hey Amy! I agree completely! I have seen students' trajectories change for the better.  

    DC next month at the MAA Carriage House will be an awesome event!

  • Icon for: Courtney Arthur

    Courtney Arthur

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 01:28 p.m.

    This is such a great project-thank you for sharing it with us! What challenges to you see with students who are entering the college pathway? Are there common factors that you feel you often address?

     
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  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 04:28 p.m.

    Thank you, Courtney! Common factors span a wide range of topics. There's the instructor and getting ready to teach via IBL -- this is why we have workshops, and there are IBL teaching skills, course materials, class management, and assessment issues to learn and make decisions about. Student buy-in and colleague buy-in are other common factors. And then there are environmental factors like class size, specific course, classroom layout. 

     

    As for challenges we see with students entering the college pathway... For the early courses I feel the challenges are there no matter the teaching method, with the possible exception of student buy-in. This is a critical period of time for many STEM majors, and I see great opportunity here in increasing the number of students getting through the pipeline with IBL and perhaps other student support (e.g. tutoring or supplemental workshops). 

    Cheers!

  • May 17, 2018 | 09:58 a.m.

    This is a great question, Courtney, which was front of mind for me when watching the impressive work demonstrated here--and I appreciate your response, Stan, about the omnipresent challenges students face at this mathematics "gateway," which they will have to traverse regardless of classroom approach.  The big "Ask" for instructors of these courses is to get students over the hump of college math (and the shock that initially comes with for many) and keep them on their pathways to math/STEM careers.  While IBL seems to hold promise for meaningfully engaging all students in mathematics, it seems an especially crucial conduit for students who have been let down by traditional trajectories of math mastery.  My mind does wander back to the inordinate challenges underrepresented students (who seem to respond particularly well to IBL) face in accessing and persisting in STEM college pathways, and I wonder how instructors are encouraged to respond to their unique needs, circumstances and prior experiences in this student-centered approach.  The emphasis on the TEACHING in this initiative is a pleasure to see, and positioning these instructors as agents of change in students' math success can only lead to more good things. 

  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 12:29 p.m.

    Hi Jessica! Thank you for the thoughtful and insightful comment.  My mind also wanders back to the challenges faced by underrepresented students. What I feel is also an area of work is in instructors learning about what else they can do, when they have opportunities presented to them to do something. What I mean by this is that when we teach via IBL, we have so many more interactions with students. We visit groups, have presentations, and this leads to more office hours visits. The number of times we engage with students is high. These interactions leads to learning about our students, and then there are opportunities for faculty to mentor and guide in ways. I feel there are opportunities here that are not be taken advantage of, and this is an area where instructors can make significant impact especially for underrepresented students. Preparing instructors to see this as an opportunity, perhaps get beyond their own implicit biases, and have the skills to take action is a challenge for the IBL community.  

  • Icon for: Dave Barnes

    Dave Barnes

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 10:26 p.m.

    Hi Stan and Sandra,

    I really appreciate your work as this breaks down some of the barriers that can exist in high schools where they advocate for the I do, we do, you do instruction on algorithms, with little or no focus on concept development solely based on the belief that all math is taught that way in colleges and universities.  You might also want to consider how students perceive themselves as doers of mathematics after having these types of learning experiences.  Student's mathematical identity can have a significant impact on their willingness to continue their mathematical studies and the data you shared suggests that that IBL experiences in higher education could positively impact their beliefs.

  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 11:34 a.m.

    Hi Dave -- Thank you for the thoughtful reply! I agree that students' mathematical identity can have a major impact on their learning. One way we have tried to highlight the benefits of IBL on this is via our YouTube Channel's "Student Voices" series.  Here's a link: 

    Student Voices AIBL YouTube Playlist

  • Icon for: Sandra Laursen

    Sandra Laursen

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 12:19 p.m.

    I'll add that we've previously studied affective outcomes such as confidence to do mathematics and beliefs about how to learn mathematics.  IBL experiences do contribute more positively to these outcomes than do the comparative classes.  However, like other researchers, we find student attitudes the hardest thing to budge...  one IBL course experience does not typically overcome years of 'training' that mathematics is about watching and copying expert examples, about reproducing procedures fast and accurately.

    We also have evidence that students developing more expert-like conceptions of mathematics as a discipline:  that it is creative, that students themselves can be the authority in discovering and evaluating mathematical truths, that there are multiple ways to solve problems, that struggle can be fruitful, that talking with others about something you've already struggled with is a useful path to deeper understanding. I would say these things are elements of a mathematical identity, but I would not go so far as to say we are routinely seeing students develop robust mathematical identities from coursework in the way that, say, an undergraduate research experience can develop a science or math identity.  It would be great to see if a curriculum including multiple IBL experiences would have that effect - we're not at the point yet where we can test that idea.

  • Icon for: Sandra Laursen

    Sandra Laursen

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 12:39 p.m.

    So far we've had a lot of discussion here about student outcomes of IBL experiences in mathematics.  Of course those good outcomes are important - the reason we're doing this! - and it's important to think carefully about how to help instructors ensure that all students experience these.  But I want to highlight that the evaluation of these workshops focuses on instructor outcomes:  What do instructors take away from the workshops and the strong follow-up support that helps them implement IBL effectively in a variety of teaching settings?  How do we know whether the workshops are having this effect?  How do we even measure these kinds of instructional change accurately?

    In this project we're using surveys we previously developed to document changes in instructor practice - being attentive to what kinds of questions teachers can accurately answer about their practice.  We're also gathering video observation data from a subset of workshop participants both before they participate and after, to see if we, as outside observers, can detect changes in their classroom practices.  There are a lot of interesting challenges to this kind of study, but we think it's important to show whether and how professional development of this type is encouraging instructors to move in these student-supportive directions.  Our prior work on workshops following this model can be found here.

  • Icon for: Katey Walton

    Katey Walton

    Graduate Student
    May 17, 2018 | 03:13 p.m.

    Thanks for the presentation on the inquiry based learning method in college mathematics classrooms.  I teach high school students and was wondering if you have done any research on the effects of inquiry-based learning at this level?  Do students need to have a certain level of maturity in order to benefit from an inquiry based learning method in the classroom?  I have one more question.  Why do you think that women and minorities benefit more from an inquiry based learning method compared to other groups?      

  • Icon for: Sandra Laursen

    Sandra Laursen

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 04:32 p.m.

    We know more about this for women in IBL classes, where we see particularly strong growth in confidence.  Interestingly, the women perform just as well as men in the non-IBL classes, but they don't feel they've mastered the material or are good at doing math. That is, the issue doesn't seem to be a real "achievement" gap but differences in how women and men interpret their experiences of the course.

    We believe that the experience of explaining and discussing mathematics is powerful for women: they have the floor; they realize that their ideas are as good or better than others'; they find out that they can make sense of things and discover solutions. They also see their peers making mistakes or solving problems less elegantly than they did themselves.  Everyone's successes and goofs become more public, so students seem to have a better sense of where they stand among their peers and a better understanding that failure is a common and natural part of learning mathematics, and indeed an opportunity to improve and learn.  So it becomes more clear to women that they are just as good as their male peers even though the guys talk a better game  😉

    Our results show that, on average, IBL is beneficial for everyone--but our data show that it makes a bigger difference for some groups who are particularly DISadvantaged in more traditionally taught classes.  We describe this as leveling the playing field - IBL instruction is not fixing women, but fixing a problematic environment for some students, including women.  I think there are interesting cultural reasons why mathematics can be uncomfortable for women and for men and women of color; a good current read on this topic is Sara Hottinger's Inventing the Mathematician.

    It's important for instructors to understand that IBL, like any other active learning approach, is not a magic bullet for classroom equity. IBL approaches offer chances for all students to reap these benefits from deep thinking and fruitful discussion, but they also offer chances to exclude or marginalize people.  In the workshops we are talking more about facilitation tactics that help instructors include everyone and be sensitive to differences in their own and students' positioning.

  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 11:22 a.m.

    I'll add on RE the last comment about opportunities to help/not help equity. I believe IBL has to be implemented with intent in order to address equity. It's not something that happens automatically.  I believe though unlike conventional lectures, IBL at least provides a framework for addressing equity. For instance, the instructor can ensure that all students are participating, every student gets a chance to share or discuss in their group roughly equally, grouping strategies can be made to ensure marginalized students are not marginalized, and avoiding the situation where only the "usual suspects" are answering questions or commenting in class.  

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    Agnes Tuska

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2018 | 08:21 p.m.

    Thanks for promoting this student-centered approach to teaching! I believe that most students learn deeper, and retain more from their learning experiences via active learning than through lecturing. The video shows nice samples of students working together, making sense of tasks, and explain solutions at the board with confidence. 

     
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    Stan Yoshinobu
  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 10:10 a.m.

    Thank you, Agnes! I appreciate the comment!

  • Icon for: Rebecca Batchelor

    Rebecca Batchelor

    SOARS Program Director
    May 18, 2018 | 07:19 a.m.

    This is a really great effort, and I would love to see more IBL in math classes. I know that one of the challenges that teachers face in implementing active learning is that it takes longer, so less material can be covered. While I know there is good evidence that the material is mastered better than in traditional lecture environments, I wonder if your teachers have had any push-back from colleges who have specific material that they expect to be covered for entry-level classes (often as pre-reqs for continuing STEM classes)?

  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 11:13 a.m.

    Hi Rebecca -- thanks for the comment and good question! 

    There can be pushback or concerns from colleagues in courses where the material is needed in future courses. There are a few layers here. One is that with flipped learning, reading assignments, and/or targeted lectures, faculty can in fact cover the material needed. This issue can be mitigated or eliminated adding in this type strategy. For entry-level courses, often the IBL methods used lean more on group work and less on student presentations of ideas/solutions. This allows instructors a bit more consistency with planning and moving through the material. For upper-level courses like Number Theory, where there isn't a second course, often reading assignments and the occasional lecture is used to fill-in gaps that won't be covered by students via IBL. Not everything has to be covered the same way.  Hope this helps!

  • Icon for: Rebecca Batchelor

    Rebecca Batchelor

    SOARS Program Director
    May 18, 2018 | 11:37 a.m.

    Thank you! 

  • Icon for: Sandra Laursen

    Sandra Laursen

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 01:38 p.m.

    From data from people coming to workshops, we know that instructors do worry about coverage.  This concern generally damps down after workshops but does not disappear. From data from instructors who already use IBL, we know that they worry less about coverage after some experience  - they know that the first few weeks may be painfully slow but that students' movement through the sequence of problems will accelerate; they know where the sticky spots are and often invent new problems to scaffold across those spots. They also hone their problem sequence to get to the things they care most about, and learn to trust that if students have deep understanding of the big ideas they can work out specific applications or variations or extensions when these are needed.

  • Icon for: Allison Carberry

    Allison Carberry

    Graduate Student
    May 19, 2018 | 04:20 p.m.

    Hi Stan,

    I am a high school mathematics teacher and I am interested if you have expanded your inquiry-based learning professional development workshops to include high school mathematics teachers in conjecture with college professors? My school is an all-girls private high school and I would love to incorporate more IBL methods into my classroom to encourage more of my students to go into STEM-related fields of study.  I believe that your last sentence in your video is crucial to helping students succeed in college, and high school, math courses, it is necessary to develop and invest in teachers so that they have the mindset and essential skills to teach inquiry-based learning methods that will then help strength students’ math abilities. 

    Thanks, Allison

  • Icon for: Stan Yoshinobu

    Stan Yoshinobu

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2018 | 04:57 p.m.

    Hi Allison,

    We have not expanded officially to HS, although the IBL Workshop model could one day be adapted. I have also been personally involved in K-12 PD in math, so I can say this with some experience. Our focus on college is intentional given the need, funding limitations, strategic importance of colleges, and people time. I do know though that IBL can be used K through college. It's been done already by teachers. PD in K-12 is different due to factors like state testing and district mandates, that complicates matters. For the time being, we're not going in this direction, but may one day  offer some support aside from IBL Workshops for teachers who want to use IBL methods in their K-12. Cheers and thanks for posting!

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