Explore Creative Ways of Teaching Math Online in Our New Workshop, EXPLORING ONLINE MATH LABS, Starting January 30!
Flicker Photo Courtesy of: Texas A&M Commerce
As online learning has exploded in popularity, we have seen all topics across the higher education landscape being addressed in online courses. With evolving technology, it seems impossible to argue that it is impossible to teach any given topic in the online format. However, some content areas still remain more challenging than others. Where a literature course may easily lend itself to the text-based interactions on a discussion forum, and computer programming may easily be demonstrated through screencasts, Math, in all of its forms, continues to feel elusive for many online instructors and students alike.
Teaching math online has always presented its challenges. Instructors struggle to show students how to perform various calculations, and students struggle with grasping concepts that can seem abstract from a distance. In the past few years we have seen the emergence of more and more online math labs – interactive and engaging online simulations which deepen a students’ understanding of mathematical principles. Online Math labs enable the instructor to deliver content in a more dynamic way, and to allow students to practice the principles in a responsive environment.
Daniel Kopsas, Mathematics Instructor at Ozarks Technical Community College, has spent the past few months developing a new workshop for the Online Learning Consortium, to be offered for the first time from January 30 – February 6, 2015. We recently caught up with Daniel to find out why this topic is important, and who might be interested in registering!!
Why is “Online Math Labs” such an important topic?
DANIEL: I don’t think there is much information out there about working directly with math students online. There are great homework management systems for mathematics, but communicating effectively with our online students is also an important ingredient for engaging our students and for giving them an authentic learning experience.
What do you hope participants take away from this workshop?
DANIEL: I hope they feel more confident using various tools to communicate mathematics online. And perhaps more importantly, I hope participants leave the workshop feeling like they can show students how to easily and effectively use technology to ask their questions.
Why should instructors take this workshop?
DANIEL: In this day of technology, I feel that all teachers should be looking to leverage the great tools available to us in order to support our students when they’re not in the classroom. This will strengthen the relationship and trust between student and teacher. So this workshop will be great for online or face-to-face math teachers who want to show students how to learn and communicate in the modern era.
Please visit our website to register for Exploring Online Math Labs starting on January 30!
My name is Daniel Kopsas (pronounced “Copsis”). Since I was a kid, I’ve had a passion for learning and teaching. So the academic road was a natural one for me. Following my love of mathematics, I obtained a Master of Science in mathematics from Missouri State University in 2005. Currently, I teach mathematics full time at Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) in Springfield, MO. I have been there nearly eight years. I have also taught for short spans at Missouri State University and Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana.
In 2012 I received OTC’s Excellence in Education award, and then in 2013 I received the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. I received these awards due to my persistence in discovering, implementing, and sharing innovative ideas in teaching. Each year I spend a significant amount of time soliciting ideas and sharing my own ideas with colleagues, either in person or online. Connecting with others who have similar interests is a great way for me to stay motivated and evolve as a teacher.
Nearly half of my teaching load for the past seven years has been online. Every year I teach online, I feel I learn something new to improve the learning experience for my students. I always get excited about trying new things! With the onset of mobile devices and apps, I feel that online and even face-to-face students can experience a more authentic learning experience when we infiltrate their social networks, emails, and text messages with academic content. It really is an exciting time in education!