I am interested in students' transition from high school to university mathematics
My main research area is the transition from high school to university mathematics. My 20 years’ teaching experience on both sides of the secondary-tertiary transitional fence gives me an excellent understanding of students’ knowledge, allowing me to focus my teaching on specific, known problem areas such as algebra, calculus and contextual understanding.
I do not just rely on my background knowledge and communication skills, but also take a scholarly approach to generate new knowledge that informs my teaching. In particular, I have been successful in attracting competitive grant funding for teaching innovations. For example, I was a Chief Investigator on a Carrick Grant that developed a powerful and flexible electronic system that creates unlimited questions accompanied by fully worked solutions. This innovative system has been used with great success over a range of mathematics, science and business courses for the past five years. In 2008 I was part of a team that was awarded a UQ Teaching and Learning Strategic Grant to design a competency test for first-year engineering students to assess knowledge of high school level mathematics, physics, and chemistry, and also the ability of the students to apply this knowledge.
I have also led a number of internally funded projects. These projects have developed a comprehensive range of new small-group learning resources for students in core engineering courses to complement a redeveloped student-focused mathematics learning space, and an online diagnostic test with automatic correction and feedback to students and staff. All of these teaching innovation grants are aimed at improving students’ mathematical understanding along with their first-year experience.
I am heavily involved in the work of the School’s Teaching and Learning Committee that has been responsible for improving the overall quality of the teaching within the School. I have been actively involved in implementing the measures for teaching quality assessment and students’ learning outcomes which are being implemented into majority of School courses and resulted in a dramatic improvement of course evaluation scores for the School.
I have also been involved in the development and review of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics, and foster links between high school teachers and university lecturers through my role as Executive Committee Member of the Queensland Association of Mathematics Teachers.
In my PhD I am continuing my research on students’ mathematical understanding, which will allow me to further improve my teaching.