Publisher: U of Glasgow   (Total: 3 journals)   [Sort alphabetically]

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MSOR Connections
Number of Followers: 1  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2051-4220
Published by U of Glasgow Homepage  [3 journals]
  • Editorial

    • Authors: Alun Owen
      First page: 3
      Abstract: Editorial for 21(1)
      PubDate: 2023-03-06
      DOI: 10.21100/msor.v21i1.1422
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Assessment as a barrier to inclusion

    • Authors: Tony Mann
      Pages: 4 - 8
      Abstract: I argue that the methods used to assess mathematics in higher education too often prevent people from achieving their potential and have the (presumably unintended) consequence that the diversity of the mathematical community is reduced as a result.
      PubDate: 2023-03-06
      DOI: 10.21100/msor.v21i1.1412
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Collusion, Rackets, and Plagiarism in Assessments

    • Authors: Alan James Walker
      Pages: 9 - 17
      Abstract: Recently, due to the global pandemic, some higher education institutions moved from formal closed-book examinations to emergency virtual assessments (EVAs). These EVAs normally comprised open-book, remote, short time-frame assessments. Most institutions are moving back to formal examinations as effects from the pandemic reduce, but some institutions have created a “new normal” regarding assessments and have opted to remain with open-book, remote, non-invigilated assessments. With these enforced changes, the mathematical sciences assessment setter is tasked with creating assessments which are resistant to collusion, plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice. Here we discuss some recent examples of issues encountered in the assessment of science and engineering topics without formal invigilated examinations.
      PubDate: 2023-03-06
      DOI: 10.21100/msor.v21i1.1411
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • An Updated Show of Hands

    • Authors: Helen Berrington, Eleftherios Kastis, Anna Karapiperi
      Pages: 18 - 22
      Abstract: It is a tried and tested technique to gauge the overall understanding of a class: a multiple-choice quiz with a show of hands for who thinks the answer is a, b or c. Although quick and easy, how much does it really measure the students’ understanding' On top of that, how useful is it as an informal formative assessment' A few students usually dominate the class and less confident students may not put up their hand, or may follow what their classmates are doing, and hence both the learner and educator may never know the individuals’ true answer.Here we discuss “an updated show of hands”, whereby students scan a QR code to take them to a real-time quiz hosted on the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), that they can answer on their smart device. All students answer the same question at the same time, and after a set time, the correct answer is revealed and the class results for that question are then displayed to everyone as an anonymous percentage. Whilst this updated method has the obvious advantage of anonymity and the obvious disadvantage of potential technical problems, in this case study we provide a full description of the implementation and an in-depth discussion on the pedagogy and practicalities of the updated show of hands – the real-time smart device quiz.
      PubDate: 2023-03-06
      DOI: 10.21100/msor.v21i1.1375
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Improving student engagement through employability themed group work

    • Authors: Simon A. Fairfax
      Pages: 23 - 28
      Abstract: In an ideal world, universities and their departments are able to reach out to employers for collaborative, employer-set, authentic assessment which align industry expectations with an assessment that tests the intended learning outcomes of a module. This is a large and ambitious undertaking for practical reasons. The author identified three practical challenges as: sourcing willing employers, relevance and level-setting, and scalability, i.e., use in modules with large numbers of students. As module leader, each of these challenges were addressed and solutions identified allowing the employability project to be embedded into a module with 150 participating students contributing 30% towards the overall module mark.
      PubDate: 2023-03-06
      DOI: 10.21100/msor.v21i1.1396
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Automatic assessment of mathematical programming exercises with Numbas

    • Authors: Chris Graham
      Pages: 29 - 42
      Abstract: As programming has become a common feature of undergraduate mathematics degrees, there has been an increasing focus on how to teach and assess the subject to mathematicians. The potential benefits of e-assessment of basic programming exercises have many parallels with assessment in mathematics where e-assessment tools are widely used: the chance to give instant feedback to students offers an opportunity to allow students to work at their own pace, accommodating the disparate background in programming that often exists in undergraduate mathematics cohorts. And the randomisation of question content not only offers a powerful tool for practice, with students able to repeat similar problems over and over, it also can offer some protection against plagiarism in a subject where, just like a solution to some mathematical problems, student answers to identical problems are likely to be very similar. This paper considers an extension to Numbas to automatically assess programming exercises and the successful implementation of the resource in undergraduate modules using the programming languages R and Python.
      PubDate: 2023-03-06
      DOI: 10.21100/msor.v21i1.1395
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Correct for the wrong reason: why we should know more about Mathematical
           Common Student Errors in e-Assessment questions

    • Authors: Indunil Sikurajapathi, Karen Henderson, Rhys Gwynllyw
      Pages: 43 - 51
      Abstract: Students may arrive at an incorrect answer when answering a mathematical question due to several reasons, such as random errors, calculation errors or misreading the question. Such errors are sometimes referred to as Common Student Errors (CSEs). This article explains why it is important to know more about Mathematical CSEs in e-Assessment questions, using several examples encountered while conducting the CSE Project at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). The CSE Project at UWE Bristol began with an aim of developing a technique to detect CSEs and provide tailored feedback in e-Assessment questions delivered via Dewis, UWE Bristol’s in-house e-Assessment system.  In this research article, we present one important finding of this project that is related to the parameter selection(s) of e-Assessment questions which have at least one CSE.  We highlight why, in this digital era, it is more vital than ever to know more about mathematical CSEs.
      PubDate: 2023-03-06
      DOI: 10.21100/msor.v21i1.1393
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • “It’s so unfair” – Can we increase student perceptions of equity
           in the grading of group assessments by allowing them to declare a
           distribution of workload'

    • Authors: Laurence Matthew Shaw
      Pages: 52 - 57
      Abstract: One of the most common complaints from students about taking part in group work is that the efforts of those who make the largest contribution are not rewarded fairly. One possible way to combat this is to allow students to agree on and declare a contribution split when submitting group projects, in the knowledge that their grades will be adjusted accordingly. We consider the results of a survey among students who have experienced group work graded both under this format and the standard “everyone in the group gets the same grade” approach. Quantitative analysis reveals that, in general, students may prefer the declaration of workload split approach. However, a closer analysis of free-text comments showed that feelings are often more nuanced than positive or negative. Students with social anxieties seem to be particularly conflicted by this method of assessment, with many reporting feelings of appreciation at the perception that their work is rewarded more fairly, concurrent with heightened stress and anxiety at the idea of approaching the conversation around workload split with their peers.
      PubDate: 2023-03-06
      DOI: 10.21100/msor.v21i1.1376
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Using online STACK assessment to teach complex analysis: a prototype
           course design'

    • Authors: Richard Gratwick, Steven O'Hagan
      Pages: 58 - 64
      Abstract: We describe a new course design, informed by our experience of the pandemic, that we think could be used in other high-level mathematics courses. The course’s main resource was a set of interactive STACK workbooks containing the course notes, automatically-marked comprehension and practice questions for self-assessment, and short videos of examples, calculations, and high-level motivation. This freed up synchronous class time to address conceptual understanding using interactive polling. We describe the course and discuss how it worked in practice.
      PubDate: 2023-03-06
      DOI: 10.21100/msor.v21i1.1394
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Adapting successful online activities for in-person classes - a new

    • Authors: Ewan Russell
      Pages: 65 - 75
      Abstract: Over the past few years, discussion across the sector has rightly been concentrated on how to provide a valuable and engaging online experience for students. The shift back to in-person classes has left many practitioners considering whether there are any lessons from the necessary shift to online teaching that can be applied to in-person teaching. This article will cover experiences stemming from a welcome but unanticipated dilemma - the live online classes for the module in question were extremely popular with students in 2020/21. How should the lecturer approach the return to in-person sessions' Activities for live online classes were designed as consolidation "games" which sought to encourage peer learning and discussion. The positive response to these activities encouraged the lecturer to pursue a flipped classroom model for the 2021/22 academic year.  This article will discuss the various considerations when planning the transition to in-person classes for the 2021/22 academic year. In addition to reflections from the lecturer on the experience, this case study will also present preliminary findings from a formal study aiming to determine whether the activities have any positive effects on student confidence. Specifically, the study will investigate student confidence in areas such as working with peers, preparing for a class using online resources, and communicating mathematics in a written format.  
      PubDate: 2023-03-06
      DOI: 10.21100/msor.v21i1.1398
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • The sigma Accessibility Special Interest Group: Resources Update

    • Authors: Ruth Hand, Ciarán Mac an Bhaird, Peter Mulligan, James O'Malley, Rachel O'Neill
      Pages: 76 - 80
      Abstract: This article contains a short update on the work of the sigma Accessibility Special Interest Group. We announce the release of resources to assist mathematics tutors and coordinators with the support of mature students and those with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.  We provide a brief background to the development of these resources and describe their pilot in two institutions, one in England and the other in Ireland. We close with a description of the next stages of work for the special interest group and a call for additional people to get involved.
      PubDate: 2023-03-06
      DOI: 10.21100/msor.v21i1.1370
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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