An early multivariate sequence aligns the order of topics in calculus with their application in STEM courses. It provides a common calculus track for STEM majors, and allows for early entry into probability, differential equations, and linear algebra.
More flexible scheduling. Deeper coverage. Higher success rates.
Resequencing Calculus is an NSF-funded project to pilot a 3-semester, early multivariate calculus sequence at multiple institutions, develop supporting course materials, assess the effectiveness of the sequence, and build support for widespread, sustained adoption of this approach. The sequence is structured so that material prerequisite for success in upper-level STEM courses is front-loaded into the first two semesters and so that the difficulty level increases gradually throughout the three-course sequence. This is accomplished by introducing multivariate calculus in Calculus 2 and postponing infinite series—arguably the most daunting topic in calculus—until Calculus 3. As a consequence, Calculus 1 and 2 form a strong two-course sequence for students in the life sciences, economics, and chemistry, all of whom are likely to encounter multivariable models in later courses within their disciplines. Moreover, students successful in Calculus 2 may enter directly into not only Calculus 3 but also differential equations, linear algebra, or calculus-based probability. The restructuring eases time pressure in Calculus 3, thus facilitating a thorough treatment of vector calculus through Stokes’ Theorem and the Divergence Theorem.
Resequencing Calculus was one of two TUES Type 2 grants awarded in mathematics in 2012, and one of only 30 awarded out of over 400 proposals submitted to the TUES Type 2 program in 2012.