Introduction to Mathematical Thinking - free online course

  • albertw
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There is an online course entitled 'Introduction to Mathematical Thinking' being ran on www.coursera.org/course/maththink by Keith Devlin of Stanford.

Mathematical thinking is not the same as doing mathematics – at least not as mathematics is typically presented in our school system. School math typically focuses on learning procedures to solve highly stereotyped problems. Professional mathematicians think a certain way to solve real problems, problems that can arise from the everyday world, or from science, or from within mathematics itself. The key to success in school math is to learn to think inside-the-box. In contrast, a key feature of mathematical thinking is thinking outside-the-box – a valuable ability in today’s world. This course helps to develop that crucial way of thinking.

The primary audience is first-year students at college or university who are thinking of majoring in mathematics or a mathematically-dependent subject, or high school seniors who have such a college career in mind. They will need mathematical thinking to succeed in their major. Because mathematical thinking is a valuable life skill, however, anyone over the age of 17 could benefit from taking the course.

It's only just started and a couple of people here are signed up.

This course is being ran as a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC). That means that it's free (always a bonus!) but that there are thousands of people doing the course. As such there are none of the 1-1 instructor or tutor experience that you get with regular courses, instead you are encouraged to join in with discussion groups and if possible meet up with other participants to help each other. On completion of the course you will get a certificate of completion; to get that you need to pass a final exam (and regular quizzes). With thousands of people participating having the lecturer mark the final exam also isn't feasible, so that will be done by peer review by other students using a grading rubic provided by the instructor. As you can probably tell from that, this is a very experimental way to run a course, and Coursera and Stanford will be hoping to learn from how this works as well.

I thought I'd post it here given that members of this form probably have at least a passing interest in mathematics and might feel they could benefit from the course, or perhaps you might just feel like trying an online course. Also some of you who have tried Mathematics at university level (and perhaps like me, just managed to get by!) may be interested even just to try out the MOOC format and to take a class by someone as respected as Keith Devlin.
Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
10 years 2 months ago #95003

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