While participating in a Faculty Learning Community, we explored the "big questions" we wanted our students to take away from our mathematics courses. We called these questions the Big Ideas of the course and developed a Big Ideas Reflection Assignment, which we continue to assign at the end of each of our courses. Students are able to demonstrate understanding and application of their learning as well as their values and appreciation of mathematics. The assignment encourages students to move beyond a focus on technique and symbolic manipulations towards a broader and more holistic approach, including making connections between their learning and the Christian faith. We also noticed that the assignment changed the way we approach our teaching and designed our courses, so that our students are beginning to see our courses not as a collection of neatly packaged isolated chunks of material but as a unified collection of important mathematical ideas.
Case, Jeremy and Colgan, Mark, ""Big Idea" Reflection Assignments for Learning and Valuing Mathematics" (2017). ACMS Conference Proceedings 2017. 7.
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