Resequencing Calculus Phase 2 (RC2) will beta-test a 3-semester, early-multivariate calculus sequence, develop supporting course materials and assessment instruments, and build support for widespread, sustained adoption of this approach. Topics are ordered so that material prerequisite for upper-level STEM courses is front-loaded into the first two semesters, Calculus 2 is an attractive jumping-off point for students in biology and chemistry, there is a natural progression of difficulty throughout the 3-course sequence, there is room in Calculus 3 to complete vector calculus through Stokes’ Theorem and the Divergence Theorem, and rigor is maintained. This is accomplished through an early introduction to multivariate calculus, vectors, and sequences; a postponement of infinite series; the inclusion of a brief treatment of matrices; and the de-emphasis, deletion, or redistribution of a handful of other topics.
RC2 will build off of Resequencing Calculus(RC1), an NSF-funded project (CCLI grant #0836676) at the University of Evansville (UE) to develop a text to support the first two semesters, to pilot the 3-semester sequence (using selections from a standard text for Calculus 3), to assess the effectiveness of the materials and the sequence, and to disseminate the results.
The importance of identifying core calculus topics for STEM disciplines has been underscored by recent initiatives such as the Curriculum Foundations Project (2004) and Math & Bio 2010(2005), both sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America. RC1 constructed and piloted a curriculum in which the topic selection and sequencing in calculus were modified to better meet the needs of students in all STEM disciplines. RC2 will provide evidence of the viability of this approach beyond the home institution and provide a framework for broad-based implementation. The investigators for RC2 include experienced textbook authors, award-winning teachers, curricular innovators, and 3 current or former department chairs. The team is thus ideally positioned to ensure that the resulting sequence not only enhances student learning but is also logistically feasible.
RC2 has the potential to change the face of calculus instruction on a national scale. The early multivariate approach of RC2 more closely connects calculus instruction with its application in STEM fields, it removes obstacles to the creation of a rigorous 2-semester calculus sequence, and it facilitates deeper and earlier exposure to upper-level math courses, the effects of which could reverberate throughout the STEM curriculum. Backed by the authority that comes with NSF support, RC2 will remove the impediments created by system-wide entrenchment by offering viable, transitional solutions to early adopters while campaigning for broad-based modification of the standard sequencing of topics.
The project summary for Resequencing Calculus - Phase 1 can be found here.
Download a pdf of the Phase 1 description here.
Download a pdf of the Phase 2 description here.