Call for Papers- Teaching Linear Algebra: an International Perspective

PRIMUS is pleased to announce a new special issue, “Teaching Linear Algebra: an International Perspective”. 

Linear algebra is the mathematics of the 21st Century and makes the digital world work. In our fast-growing technological world, advancement in industry relies heavily on linear algebra, and it is becoming ever more critical for future employees to be familiar with the subject (Stewart et al., 2022).

After students take a first course in linear algebra, they go on to use it in a wide range of settings. Majors in computer science, engineering, or economics may use it in applied ways; majors in mathematics or mathematics education may use it in applied or theoretical ways; and those who go on to graduate education often rely heavily on linear algebra across the sciences. Thus, the foundation gained in the first course or two of linear algebra is especially important.

Research on teaching and learning in linear algebra started in the late 1980s and early 1990s and investigated a broad spectrum of areas, including the role of technology, the role of geometry in linear algebra, modeling, and students’ reasoning as they made sense of abstract linear algebra concepts. Around the same time, many studies on innovative teaching ideas have also been conducted and helped the mathematics community to think of alternative teaching methods. 

This PRIMUS special issue calls for articles on the teaching and learning of linear algebra from a wide variety of viewpoints. The special issue aspires to present a collection of papers capturing the latest innovations in teaching and learning linear algebra, including novel uses of technology and modern applications. We are especially interested in papers that offer practical teaching implications to prepare students for tomorrow’s scientifically advanced demands with evidence that the approach supports their learning.

It is envisaged that this volume will inspire, empower, and equip readers to expand and reinvigorate their approaches to teaching linear algebra at all levels and in diverse contexts. Authors are encouraged to consider the practical usefulness of their work to colleagues across the world and (where appropriate) to include practical notes on the applicability and adaptability of the innovations that are reported.

Possible topics of focus include:

(a)  Student-centered classroom activities

  • Flipped classroom, inquiry-based learning in linear algebra, collaborative student activities
  • Innovative and challenging tasks to enhance the learning of a variety of linear algebra concepts, with reflection on how students engage with those tasks
  • Classroom interventions using novel approaches (including technology)
  • Comparing and contrasting visual (geometric) and more abstract (algebraic) explanations of specific ideas

(b)  Technology and applications

  • Insights and experiences on teaching applications of linear algebra that support student understanding and show the power of linear algebra in our world
  • Use technology to visualize and numerically analyze large matrices and data sets

(c)  Linear Algebra curriculum

  • Surveys (of international interest) on the evolving role of linear algebra in higher education in mathematics and other disciplines. For example, surveys of linear algebra course offerings that explore which fields require linear algebra? Where is linear algebra used as a prerequisite for other courses? How often are senior or graduate level courses offered?
  • Developing and offering new courses; selecting topics and the order to present them
  • Institutional (math department) changes to offer linear algebra sooner in the degree
  • Instructors’ day-to-day journals documenting details about teaching LA concept(s); lesson plans, including some students’ feedback and reactions.

(d)   Teaching advanced Linear Algebra courses

  • Interesting and compelling examples and problems involving particular ideas being taught
  • Interesting and enlightening connections between ideas that arise in linear algebra and ideas in other mathematical branches 

The issue will be guest edited by Anthony Cronin (University College Dublin), Judith McDonald (Washington State University), Rachel Quinlan (National University of Ireland, Galway), Sepideh Stewart (University of Oklahoma), and David Strong (Pepperdine University).

Some general guidelines:

While written for reviewers, this blog post also shows what makes a good PRIMUS paper: https://primusmath.com/2021/02/11/what-makes-a-good-primus-review/. Please read it before drafting your paper. You can also see several exemplary free PRIMUS papers at https://primusmath.com/2022/01/03/editors-picks-2021/.

Papers for this special issue should be approximately 10-15 pages long. Submissions will be accepted until Feb 28, 2023.

For more information, please contact any of the special issue guest editors:

Anthony Cronin, University College Dublin: anthony.cronin@ucd.ie;
Judi McDonald, Washington State University: JMcDonald1@WSU.edu;
Rachel Quinlan, National University of Ireland, Galway: rachel.quinlan@nuigalway.ie;
Sepideh Stewart, University of Oklahoma: sepidehstewart@ou.edu;
David Strong, Pepperdine University, California: David.Strong@pepperdine.edu

Reference:

Stewart, S., Axler, S., Beezer, R., Boman, E., Catral, M., Harel, G., McDonald, J., Strong, D., & Wawro, M. (2022). The linear algebra curriculum study group (LACSG 2.0) recommendations. The Notices of American Mathematical Society, 69(5), 813-819. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1090/noti2479

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