This spring, four Houghton professors gave presentations at the 22nd biennial conference of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences. The conference features research from professors and scholars in mathematics and other related disciplines. This year’s conference was held at Indiana Wesleyan University, from May 29 to June 1.
Rebekah Yates: Math Research Seminar Course
Rebekah Yates, associate professor of mathematics and chair of Houghton’s mathematics department, gave a presentation titled, “Making Stuff Up: A Model for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics.”
“In order to introduce our students to mathematical research,” said Yates, “several years ago we began offering a 1-credit Math Research Seminar each spring.” Her presentation used the course as a model for undergraduate mathematics research, including the ways in which the course has helped to expand student perspectives on mathematics as a creative, active discipline.
Yates is also a board member for the ACMS.
Brandon Bate: Flowcharts as a Teaching Tool
In his presentation, “Flowcharts in Introduction to Proofs,” assistant mathematics professor Brandon Bate focused on his experience using flowcharts as a teaching tool in college-level work. While proof-based mathematics can be daunting for students who are encountering it for the first time, Bate pointed out that there are strategies professors can use to make the process smoother. He used his Introduction to Proofs class as an example, highlighting how flowcharts can help students to transition from more concrete mathematics work to abstract, proof-based arguments.
Bate is also the ACMS webmaster.
Jill Jordan: The Value of Student Self-Assessment
Jill Jordan, assistant professor of mathematics, gave a presentation titled, “Speak for Yourself: Self-Assessment as a Tool for Measuring Participation.”
“In each of my classes,” Jordan said, “I give my students responsibility for grading themselves on the attendance and participation component of their final grade, following rubrics that I provide.” In her presentation, she gave examples of what this process looks like in the various types of classes she teaches, and presented her reasoning for incorporating student self-assessment into final grades.
Ryan Yates: Computer Vision as a Tool for Image Analysis
Ryan Yates, assistant professor of computer science and data science, gave a presentation on computer vision, the study of how computers can analyze data they collect from images and videos. The presentation, titled, “Image Data: A Project-Based Exploration of Computer Vision,” addressed the evolving applications of computer vision, as well as techniques for introducing these concepts in the classroom.
“Computer vision systems appear in many well-known cutting-edge domains such as self-driving cars, augmented reality, and facial recognition,” said Yates. He used Houghton’s Image Data class (a special topics data science course) as an example of strategies to introduce the field of computer vision through hands-on projects and open source software.
The Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences started as an informal group of mathematics teachers at Christian colleges, from 1976 to 1985. The group incorporated formally in 1985 and expanded its focus to all categories of the mathematical sciences.