Monday 9 October

Mingling and coffee - fruit and light breakfast available.

Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Bath, England, and Professor of Mathematics at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

In the talk I will show how we can teach the modelling process and learn some excellent maths (and other skills) on the way. My talk will be illustrated with many examples taken from industry. A paper to accompany this presentation is available at

Molde University College

This 'framework' is what I find convenient when teaching in a course in mathematics: 1) Write a customized compendium - not a big textbook 2) Make customized problems - not problems taken from the textbook 3) Make complete solutions to problems - not only answers 4) Organize problem sessions with assistant teachers AND main lecturer present 5) Assistant teachers mark the problem sessions 6) Old exams with complete solutions available for the students 7) Make short videos (5-15 minutes) as an additional resource for the students 8) Have Facebook-group - despite chat forums in Canvas, ItsLearning or Fronter. 9) Make problems with a context and story from the real life - not only "abstract" problems 10) Use the blackboard - not PowerPoint - and take one or two "mini-breaks" (1 minute) during the 45 minutes lecture.

Pro-Rector Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

University of Edinburgh

The Mathematics Diagnostic Test has been in use at the University of Edinburgh since 2011, and each year it is taken online by around 1000 new students who are enrolled in courses taught by the School of Mathematics. Over the summer of 2017, two undergraduate students conducted a statistical analysis of the accumulated test data, looking at both the performance of individual questions (via item response theory) and at how well the test is predicts performance in subsequent courses. We will report on some of the findings, and on how these have informed some changes to the test.

Morten and Arvid will outline briefly what we hope to achieve through their role as MatRIC Ambassadors.

Tuesday 10 October

Professor of Mathematics Education, San Diego State University

In the last ten years there has been considerable growth in research focused on university mathematics instruction. In this talk I present highlights of a recent review of the learning and teaching of university mathematics education research, which included nearly 40 studies that examined university mathematics instruction and instructional practice. The shift in attention to how university mathematics is taught is in part attributable to the pressure and concerns to strengthen teacher preparation, accountability and assessment of post-secondary mathematics instruction and student success (especially as it relates to STEM majors), and the recognition of the needs of a diverse student body as well as the needs of other STEM disciplines.

Tore and Daniel will describe their experiences and products coming from summer internships during which they produced teaching and learning resources to support the mathematics for economics course at UiA.

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Student views on different types of formative feedback in computer aided mathematics assessments. This paper will report from a case study where students were required to complete two computer-based mathematics tests as a mandatory assignment in a mathematics course. These tests were made using Numbas, a web-based assessment system developed at Newcastle University (Foster et al., 2012). Using this system, the teacher can write mathematics questions in a range of formats - number entry, algebraic expression entry, multiple choice/multiple response, and text entry. Students’ answers are automatically assessed, and they can receive an immediate feedback on their work. It is possible to create questions with randomized parameters, providing students with different versions of a given question. Furthermore, different types of formative feedback (Bertheussen, 2014) can be integrated in the questions, in the form of clues to how this type of task can be solved. One of the “forkurs” (mathematics preparatory course) classes at UiT completed the tests in the autumn of 2016. The students were subsequently invited to answer a questionnaire, focusing on their views on the use of digital mathematics tests in general, as well as the usefulness of the different types of formative feedback in these tests. Results indicate that these students appreciated the computer-based tests, and that they especially valued hints and solution tips that showed how a similar (but not identical) problem could be solved. However, the use of computer-based tests as mandatory assignments was somewhat problematized. ...................... References: Bertheussen, B. A. (2014). Automatisk formativ feedback kan gi god motivasjon og læring. Uniped, 1(04), 58-72. DOI: 10.3402/uniped.v37.23471 Foster, B., Perfect, C., & Youd, A. (2012). A completely client-side approach to e-assessment and e-learning of mathematics and statistics. International Journal of e-Assessment, 2(2).

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Scaling and dimensional analysis is a non-existent topic in the basic mathematical education of civil engineers, in spite of its importance for practical engineering and in theoretical modelling. There could be several reasons for the current state of affairs, possibly including lack of awareness of this topic amongst mathematics teachers. In this talk I will illustrate the ideas involved with some simple examples from geometry and practical applications, and how it could influence the student’s mindset when relating to an engineering problem (e.g. laboratory experiments). Many students encounter dimensional analysis in graduate engineering subjects, and it would indeed be helpful to have been exposed to this beautiful topic earlier in their studies. The pedagogical challenges in realizing such a program are also far from straight-forward, and different aspects of possibly including this topic in the basic engineering math curriculum will be discussed.

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Kjellrun Hiis Hauge presents. The research profile of our mathematics department at the Faculty of Education is on critical mathematics education. Topics that are explored include school mathematics versus workplace mathematics and developing mathematics competences to enable students to become critical citizens in contemporary societal issues. In my talk, I will present principles and goals for student participation in three student courses. The first is on a research project where preservice teachers are involved as partners in developing cooperation between school students and local industry. The second is on a course where indicators applied in society was part of the curriculum. The third is on a collaboration with master students where research was conducted on a lecture from their own master course. The three cases are presented and discussed in terms of student participation, inquiry based teaching and learning, real-world problems, research based education and democratic aspects.

Department of Mathematics and systems Analysis Aalto University School of Science

Abacus material bank (, based at Aalto University Finland, is a major international project, which aims at facilitating the use of computer aided assessment in higher education. The project was started as a joint effort of the seven Finnish technology universities, and it currently is mainly focused on the development of problem assignments, predominantly implemented by using the automatic assessment system STACK. .................... The project is motivated by the fact that the main obstacle to the use of STACK has been the lack of available learning materials and associated support services. The Abacus project seeks to address this problem by maintaining a set of multilingual high-quality problem assignments that are collaboratively developed by the partners and shared between them in a quasi-open source manner. Currently, we have a large collection of problem assignments in mathematics and physics, and some materials also in chemistry, statistics, and economics. The main effort in developing materials is related to design and programming of the assignments, which makes international collaboration particularly attractive. ...................... In this presentation, we discuss present and potential uses of automatic assessment in Finland, as well as the current status and future plans of the Abacus project.

University of Oslo

Many future teachers study a lot of mathematics at university, but is the mathematics they learn relevant for their future teaching? Most mathematics courses are aimed at training future researchers or future users of mathematics, and do not address the needs of teachers. At the University of Oslo I have introduced a course called “School Mathematics from an Advanced Standpoint”, which focuses on mathematics that will help future teachers. What I cover in my course is neither mathematics nor mathematics education. I sometimes call it educational mathematics. Many other universities offer similar courses. The content of such course is bound to vary because the content of school mathematics varies in different countries. The background of students also varies between universities. But are there some common themes in such courses? I hope this will be of interest to everybody involved in training future high school teachers of mathematics.

Professor, University of Edinburgh.

Mathematical tasks are essential components of mathematics education because they encourage active engagement with mathematics. Tasks are often conceptualised in two stands. (1) The use of routine techniques. This includes recognition and the reduction of problems to cases for which a standard algorithm is applicable. (2) Problem solving. This involves elements of (for the solver at least) novelty which demand creativity and often personal struggle. Sometimes solutions are useful for solving similar problems, in other cases the argument is somehow unique. The two strands are inseparable since problem solving may be replaced by memory or by looking up the answer. Without sufficient practice, recognition is impossible and all mathematical questions become problem solving, which is inefficient and causes problems in recording and communicating mathematics. A hallmark of the traditional approach to teaching is the importance of practice. Contemporary computer aided assessment provides one mechanism to automate this, providing immediate feedback to students and relieving teachers from repetitive marking. However, this potentially ignores the problem solving strand. This talk will review research on the classification of mathematical tasks, and on theory of how to develop meaningful sequences of tasks for students. The talk will look at how contemporary online assessment allows random generation of tasks, and at opportunities for the generation of sequences of tasks which are traditionally seen as difficult for humans to assess, and which are therefore not widely used.

The conference comes to formal end at 15:15, but network meetings and discussions can continue. If you want to find out what the MatRIC networks in which you are interested plan, or you would like to suggest an issue for discussion, please contact the network coordinators.