Discipline-Specific Mathematics Instruction

We encourage instructors to collaborate with the RGASC to develop discipline-specific mathematics support for their courses.

An example of a strategy we piloted in the Winter 2018 term is a series of supplementary Math/Physics sessions offered in PHY147H.

The goal in this project was to provide students with foundational calculus and linear algebra support, since physics students are required to use mathematical facts, formulae, and algorithms before these are taught in mathematics courses, and then connect the mathematics to physics concepts learnt in the course.

With support from the Office of the Dean, the RGASC’s Numeracy Specialist and a Teaching Assistant developed and delivered these sessions. The sessions were:

  • optional;
  • free of charge; and
  • held outside of the regularly-scheduled classes and labs.

A total of 16 hours of supplementary math sessions were offered throughout the term.

Summary of Sessions:

  • Two weekly sessions are designed to support students in PHY147H in learning, and gaining practice with, mathematical concepts which they need in the course and their future physics studies.
  • The first session in each week focuses on explaining necessary mathematical facts, techniques, and/or routines, followed by students’ collaborative work on exercises, in-class, to solidify their understanding of the material presented in the session. The second session ties the mathematical techniques and routines to the physics concepts discussed in PHY147H.
  • Students are encouraged to attend these sessions (on a voluntary basis); the sessions will help them not only to better understand underlying mathematics, but will enable them (once mathematics is no longer a stumbling block) to gain a deeper insights into physics concepts and ideas in PHY147H.

We hope to offer similar forms of numeracy support in other courses next year. Instructors interested in participating in this kind of project are encouraged to contact Dr. Andie Burazin by email at a.burazin@utoronto.ca.

Faculty Support

Faculty members interested in integrating numeracy support into their courses (for example, by employing a strategy similar to that outlined above or by developing new assignments or assessment strategies) are encouraged to contact Dr. Andie Burazin at a.burazin@utoronto.ca or read more about our Teaching and Learning Support for Instructors.