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Presenter(s):
Vilma Mesa

Time: 4:00pm

Room: East Concourse (lower level)

Title:
Investigations in Instruction and Teaching in Undergraduate Mathematics

Abstract:
In this presentation I will summarize the work I have conducted on instruction and
teaching of mathematics at community colleges and other postsecondary institutions,
work that has sought to characterize the nature of instruction and to understand the
work of teaching.
My research on instruction at community colleges reveals a pattern of interaction between
students and instructors that can be called "interactive lecture". In this pattern, the
instructor presents the topics, examples, and problems. The students' role is to ask
questions to clarify content. Students rarely discuss ideas among themselves and the
questions they tend to answer emphasize low cognitive demand processes. This interaction
pattern can be described through the norms that govern the didactical contract that for
the predominant instructional situation of presenting content via examples
(Mesa & Herbst, 2011) and continues to be upheld thanks to instructors' responses to
their professional obligations (Celis & Mesa, 2016; Lande & Mesa, 2016)
My research on teaching of mathematics using inquirybased learning (IBL) reveals
markedly different patterns of interaction, with different roles for teachers and
students, who interact collectively around the worksheets that students solve with
other students during class. The differences in how teaching is conducted, generate
conflicting situations for instructors (Mesa & Cawley, 2016). Research studies suggest
that this type of teaching is beneficial and thus suggest interesting areas for faculty
development.

Materials:
Investigations on Instruction and Teaching
MichMATYC_2016_V_Mesa.pdf

Biographical:
Vilma Mesa is Associate Professor of Education at the University of Michigan. She
investigates the role that resources play in developing teaching expertise in
undergraduate mathematics, specifically at community colleges and in inquirybased
learning classrooms. She has conducted several analyses of instruction and of textbooks
and collaborated in evaluation projects on the impact of innovative mathematics
teaching practices for students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
She served as associate editor for the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education
from 20002004 and is currently serving as associate editor for Educational Studies
in Mathematics. She has a B.S. in computer sciences and a B.S. in mathematics from
the University of Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and a master's and a Ph.D. in
mathematics education from the University of Georgia.

