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What the Consortium Means for Students

The premise underlying many of the Project activities is that instruction today is too narrowly focused on the subject of an individual course or the point of view of a particular discipline. The scientific and business workplace today is characterized by multidisciplinary thinking that draws on the paradigms and problem-solving strategies of many different disciplines. Many business groups value physicists, mathematicians and engineers for their common training in quantitative problem-solving. It is as if faculty in these different disciplines see themselves as specialists in Bach or Tchaikovsky or jazz, while the world wants broadly trained musicians.

Pedagogical innovation requires faculty to question established practices and to learn to be effective with new modes of instruction and of student learning. There are related responsibilities for students as well. The Consortium seeks to help students

  • become more active participants in their education,
  • write about what they are learning, and
  • learn to work effectively in teams.
The model of interconnected learning supported through the activities of the Long Island Consortium provides a natural framework within which to group the many individual changes in teaching, curriculum and technology that face faculty and students.

Some examples of such Consortium Projects include:

The Consortium seeks to have faculty in mathematics, the social sciences and business replace their disciplinary versions of introductory statistics with a jointly taught, unified course illustrating their diverse needs for statistical analysis.

Development of a new course on the mathematics of fairness designed to be taught with group learning activities and extensive writing assignments. One of the goals of the course will be to enable students to read the newspaper in a manner which alerts them to the underlying fairness and equity issues, and to make them aware of the mathematical ideas that will allow them to study such fairness issues.

Instructional innovation in the 1000-student general introductory chemistry course at Stony Brook. Formerly devoted to answering questions or working problems, the recitation sessions have now become workshops where the students work in cooperative learning groups on specially designed lessons.

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The Long Island Consortium is sponsored by the NSF Initiative: Mathematical Sciences and Their Application Throughout the Curriculum, DUE #9555142. The original NSF proposal can be accessed by clicking here.

Last updated October 7, 1997. Please direct comments or suggestions to [email protected]