Christopher dipping toe in water of online education

UPDATE: The course described below has filled and a substantial waiting list has been closed. I will post updates to this blog as plans for future versions of the course become more clear.

This coming March, I am going to be offering an online course.

It will not be Massively Open. It will not be a MOOC.

Here’s the plan:

I want to gather a medium-sized group of middle-school math teachers to study the mathematics that lurks just beneath the surface of quality middle school math curriculum materials.

I’m talking about big ideas. I’m talking about what if? questions.

I’m talking about starting with the familiar and ending up with the strange. We will stretch our minds to consider new corners of the mathematical world.

If you want Common Core implementation help, go pay your $400 to NCTM. This won’t be that.

If you want machine-scored, lecture-based online instruction, go join a Coursera MOOC. This won’t be that, either.

If you want credit towards your Master’s Degree or other contract-based lane change, talk with your nearest graduate institution. Because this won’t be that.

This will be a community of 20 smart teachers learning with and from each other in a structured environment.

This will be a set of semi-synchronous activities and discussions designed to advance our own understandings of the foundational mathematical idea of function. Eventually, the course will expand to other topics, such as inversesymmetrychange and operation. But this first version will just be function.

What you’ll get:

An instructor (me) with over 15 years of professional development experience, 18 years of teaching experience, an open mind, a whole mess of math knowledge, and a deep curiosity about ideas and ways of thinking.

Also, you’ll get:

  1. Smarter than you are now,
  2. More connected to other smart math teachers, and
  3. A beautiful, suitable-for-framing certificate to assist in relicensure in your state/province/district/etc.

The details:

Course title: The Mathematics in School Curriculum.

Dates: I need 20 middle-school math teachers who are interested in spending about an hour a day thinking about functions for the two weeks March 17—30, 2013.

Platform: The course will take place on Canvas, an Instructional Management System (IMS) developed by Instructure. I have used this system in place of my institution’s adopted IMS (Desire2Learn, or D2L) and have been delighted with its design—especially the way it supports discussion and sharing of resources. Your Canvas account will be free of charge.

Content: We will pilot a functions unit—the first of what will eventually be five units embedded in a larger course. The goals of the pilot will be to broaden our knowledge of (a) curricular approaches to function relevant to the middle school, and (b) the ideas behind the formal mathematical function.

Cost: This pilot will be free. Eventually, I will charge a reasonable fee in compensation for my time and effort (each of which I imagine will be substantial).

Commitment: In signing up for the course, I will ask for your commitment to full participation. We will be looking to build community, and that won’t happen if we don’t commit to the effort together.

Full participation will mean agreeing to spend about an hour a day for the duration of the course. The “hour” is an average and is at your convenience. Course activities will include working through mathematics tasks, reading articles, seeking resources and participating in asynchronous online discussions.

But full participation won’t just be about seat time. It will be about committing to learning, and to supporting the learning of your classmates.

How to sign up: By filling out a Google form. I will cap the pilot course at 20 participants. First come, first served. I know that people’s lives are hectic and variable, so I’ll maintain a 10-person waiting list before ending registrations altogether.

Click here to register for the course.

What questions do you have? Send them my way.

I hope to catch up with you online in March. We’re going to have a ton of fun.


7 responses to “Christopher dipping toe in water of online education

  1. Since I’m not a middle school teacher, I won’t sign up. But I would love to do a course with you.

  2. We’ll catch you on the full, paying version of the course, Sue. And if I can’t rustle up 20 for the pilot, I may twist your arm to help fill it out.

  3. A couple of questions:

    1) Morning, afternoon, evening?
    2) Canadians allowed?

    • Time is at your convenience. The current plans include no face-to-face requirements.

      All time zones and nationalities are welcome.

  4. I’m feeling the same as Sue. If you need another warm body, this former middle school teacher would love to help out.

  5. Pingback: Syllabus | Overthinking my teaching

  6. hope you do this again! I want to join.

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