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Badges added to MOOC courses

In response to the MOOC students of the numerical methods courses, we have added badges to every module in the course. Simply answer the quiz questions at the end of each module and you will see a badge in your grades.  We are exploring how we can provide certificates for the course.

We have a two-part MOOC course on Numerical Methods

To enroll in the courses, avoid the upper given links as it may ask you for elusive “join code”. Simply go to https://canvas.net. Search for numerical methods. Click on the course of your choice. Click on enroll at bottom of screen. You will not need a “join code”.

You can also register at https://learn.canvas.net/register

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Covariance between residuals and predictor variable is zero for a linear regression model.

Prove that covariance between residuals and predictor (independent) variable is zero for a linear regression model.

The pdf file of this blog is also available for your viewing.

covariance error predictor variable zero Page 1covariance error predictor variable zero Page 2
The pdf file of this blog is also available for your viewing.

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Sum of the residuals for the linear regression model is zero.

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Prove that the sum of the residuals for the linear regression model is zero.sum of residuals is zero Page 1sum of residuals is zero Page 2________________________________________________

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A MATHCOUNTS problem solution via abstraction

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mathcounts2014mathcounts2014_1.png

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Holistic Numerical Methods Open Course Ware:

the textbooks on

the Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) available at

Unexpected zeros error in MATLAB in zeros function

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YouTube Comment: This MATLAB program gives me an error.  W=2.4; L=3; Delta=0.6; i=(W./Delta)+2; j=(L./Delta); T=zeros(i,j); . When I write 0.1 for Delta, there is an error for zeros statement.

Answer: When writing a new program, avoid using the semicolon as it suppresses the output. Write each line separately in a .m file and run the mfile. That way you would have noticed that “i” is turning out to be a real number. It shows up as 26.0000 but if you use format long statement, you will see that you get 25.999999999999996. You can round(i) and round(j) to the nearest integer. The reason “i” turns out to be 25.999999999999996 is because of roundoff error, as numbers and calculations get represented in binary format.

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Using Smart Sparrow as Clickers

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In Fall 2017, I will be using Smart Sparrow platform to improve the efficacy of the flipped classroom for pre-class learning.  I have been using clickers in the classroom for the last ten years and stumbled on this link https://www.best.edu.au/2016/02/11/using-a-smart-sparrow-poll-an-alternative-to-classroom-clickers.html.  This link shows how to use Smart Sparrow to do polling in the class, and hence is an alternative to clickers for my class. This will save my students money and also save them from having to navigate another platform for use of personal response systems.  I will move the clicker questions over in Fall 2017 and use them in Spring 2018.  Yes, it is a long time from now, but you do not have to wait.

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Getting Started on Smart Sparrow Adaptive Platform

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May 13, 2017

Autar Kaw

We are developing content for a course in Numerical Methods on the Smart Sparrow adaptive platform. There is a learning curve for you to get started but it does not have to be difficult.  To get going, we propose the following.

  1. Watch this YouTube Smart Sparrow playlist to get an overview (22 minutes of video).
  2. This tutorial video will help you make your first lesson (52 minutes long).
  3. This tutorial from Learning Solutions magazine illustrates the authoring environment.
  4. The knowledge base for Smart Sparrow is an essential resource and I would concentrate just on the creating lessons part first.
  5. Then there is always the dependable support available by emailing to support@smartsparrow.com or by filling an online form.

In our future blogs, we will be illustrating our use of Smart Sparrow in the development of our lessons by creating tutorials based on generic content.

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Prerequisite Example for Newton Raphson Method

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PrerequsiteForNewtonRaphsonMethod_Page_1

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Flipped Learning and Active Learning are Not Synonymous

April 05, 2017

In an article titled The Hidden Costs of Active Learning by Thomas Mennalla, an associate professor of biology at Bay Path University, mentions that “Flipped and active learning truly are a better way for students to learn, but they also may be a fast track to instructor burnout.”  He starts his article – “I am an active learning college instructor and I’m tired. I don’t mean end-of-the-semester and need-some-sleep tired. I mean really, weary, bone-deep tired.”

I applaud the effort by Professor Manella as he is using effective evidence-based pedagogy, and I can relate to the burn-out when I first used the flipped classroom. However, I am personally concerned that flipped learning and active learning are considered to be somewhat synonymous.  We do not have to teach a class flipped to incorporate active learning.  Just small exercises at 15-minute intervals in a 50-minute class, like asking two to four clicker questions, a 25-word muddiest point essay, or something akin,  have been found to be effective.

I implore all my higher-ed colleagues and administrators not to push flipped classes just because that is the only way you know or have heard of incorporating active learning. Before embarking on a flipped class, try a blended class first with all the resources you would have developed for a flipped class; couple it with effective learning strategies like distributed practice (algorithmic problems and question banks presented through learning management systems will save you time to grade and curb cheating), giving practice tests, and assigning interleaved practice.

If someone has convinced you that flipped class (learning) is the only answer, ask them, “Have you compared it with a blended class where the active learning items done in class are of low cost – both for class time and professor prep time?”  Comparing the flipped class with the traditional lecture class should be seriously questioned as a research question.  The same meta-study which is quoted by many advocates of active learning and unrelatedly the “death of the lecture” tend to conveniently ignore the last sentence in its abstract – “The results raise questions about the continued use of traditional lecturing as a control in research studies, …..”

I teach my classes flipped as well as blended.  In the blended class, I have several in-class active learning exercises (clicker questions, short exercises, think-pair-share, etc), and therefore a reasonable amount of content has to be pushed out-of-class and online. Are they hence not getting the benefit of self-regulated and deep learning by doing that? Are they not using the group space during active learning exercises for “dynamic, interactive and engaging activities”?

Full Disclosure: I see the benefits of flipped learning but we do not have to flip every topic. Flipping does not have to create a burn-out either.  Even good medicine has to be taken in prescribed doses.  Currently, I am a lead PI on two NSF grants – one on comparing flipped and blended classes and another on using adaptive learning to improve the pre-class experience of flipped classes.  Let the data do the talking.

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