Articles by author: mwilloughby

  • Brock math students collaborate with local teachers on coding lessons

    Brock News Article

    As they work to become educators themselves, a class of Brock University students recently spent time collaborating with local teachers to add coding to their classrooms.

    With the support of a grant from Brock’s Experiential Education office and a team led by Professor Chantal Buteau of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science, the initiative expanded the scope of MATH 3P41 ­— a third-year programming-based math course for future teachers — to include a final project in collaboration with the Niagara Catholic District School Board.

    Brock students partnered with Niagara Catholic teachers to design or modify and implement coding-based math activities for students in Grade 5 to 9.

    “This coding collaboration surpassed my expectations, which is a testament to the professionalism of the two Brock students with whom I was paired,” said Grade 8 teacher Angela Aston-Willett from Our Lady of Victory Catholic Elementary School.

    In total, 36 MATH 3P41 students and 25 Niagara Catholic teachers took part.

    “The goal is to expand on experiential learning components and better prepare our future math teachers on how to integrate coding in their classrooms,” said Buteau. “It builds on the long-established MICA (Math Integrated with Computers and Applications) I-II-III courses developed at Brock some 20 years ago, whereby students learn to use programming for pure and applied mathematics investigations.”

    The course’s focus on enhancing the teaching of coding skills stems from the Ontario Ministry of Education’s recently revised Grade 1 to 9 math curricula, in which coding was newly integrated as a tool for math.

    “It’s now an expected skill our teachers need to possess and need to know how to teach,” said Buteau.

    The collaborative project concluded April 18, with the MATH 3P41 students providing short oral presentations reflecting on the implementation of their math and coding activities. Niagara Catholic numeracy consultants Laura Cronshaw and Jefferey Martin attended the event to show their support as community partners in the initiative.

    Although the course has now wrapped up, Buteau said there is still work to be done.

    “My Niagara Catholic community partners and I, together with my post-doctoral fellow Dr. Laura Broley, will further reflect on this initiative and prepare a professional development webinar to present to Ontario math consultants in mid-June,” she said.  “The aim will be to share what we have learned from our experience on collaboratively preparing and implementing coding-based math activities in school classrooms.”

    Carolyn Finlayson, Experiential Education Co-ordinator for Brock’s Faculties of Social Sciences and Education, was pleased to support the initiative.

    “When we fund experiential learning projects in courses, our hope is that learning experiences for Brock students are meaningful and impactful,” she said. “Dr. Buteau’s students were able to extend this mission beyond the walls of Brock and share our commitment to high quality teaching with students at Niagara Catholic, serving as wonderful ambassadors of our institution.”

    Buteau said the collaborative project would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and involvement of Cronshaw and Martin, and through financial support from the Mathematics Knowledge Network funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education. She also highlighted the instrumental work done by Broley in assisting with the revision of the whole course in preparation for the students’ final projects.

  • New course to enhance data science skills for students in all disciplines

    Brock News Article

    As technology has evolved through the years, so have the skills many employers are looking for when they set out to hire new talent.

    With a proficiency in data science growing in demand, Brock University is launching a new introductory course that will be open to students from all disciplines.

    “Nowadays, rudimentary knowledge of data science skills and the software to interpret data has become necessary to remain competitive in many industries,” said Pouria Ramazi, Assistant Professor in Mathematics and Statistics at Brock.

    Hireable skills often progress based on technology and the job market. The Government of Canada is currently rating data science skills favourably across all provinces and is predicting that students with data science skills will be more hireable in the coming years.

    In response to the growing need for data science skills, Faculty of Mathematics and Science (FMS) Dean Ejaz Ahmed initiated the creation of STAT 1P50 — Introduction to Data Science, which will launch this fall.

    Ahmed, who believes that everyone should have a basic understanding of data, said having knowledge of the topic will “strengthen students, regardless of the discipline and preferred career path.”

    “The introductory course will fill knowledge gaps and students will learn to make sense of the ‘story’ within data — an important skill in a world where social and digital media is often peppered with half truths and bad actors,” he said.

    Ramazi and Assistant Professor Tianyu Guan were tasked with the overall design of the project-based course.

    “We designed a course that serves as an introduction and elementary approach to data science and machine learning that any first-year student can take regardless of their area of study,” Ramazi said. “There are also plans to make STAT 1P50 part of the new Data Science program in the future.”

    Data science is now being used outside of traditional mathematics and computer science careers. Online language assistant program Grammarly, and the “world’s first robot lawyer” from the DoNotPay app, all rely on the power of machine learning to solve issues like proper punctuation and fighting traffic tickets.

    “I’ve used machine learning in my epidemiology research to help solve COVID-19 related problems,” said Ramazi, who will teach the inaugural class and is looking forward to the creativity and wide variance of topics.

    “Students don’t need a high-level mathematics background to enjoy the work,” he said. “One day you might be conversing with a data scientist about career options and the next interpreting data from a neural network.”

    For more information about the Introduction to Data Science course, email

  • Congratulations to Neil Marshall – Student Experience, Recruitment and Outreach Award

    The Mathematics & Statistics Department congratulates Neil Marshall in receiving this year’s Student Experience, Recruitment and Outreach Award from the Dean’s Office. For significant contribution in the previous academic year to the Faculty’s efforts regarding overall student experience, recruitment and outreach. Neil is an integral part in making the department programs successful.

    “Neil has worked in the Department for over six years and is a valuable resource to the Department due to his course knowledge, dedication to student success, technical expertise, and willingness to assist Department members wherever possible. One of Neil’s major responsibilities is managing our Learning Centre and providing weekly one-on-one help hours in the Centre for all first-year courses.  Providing effective help at a distance is particularly difficult, but Neil has managed to design and implement a very effective strategy and all hours are well-attended by students.”

    “Neil is a key resource for first-year students whose first university experience has required them to adjust to learning in an online environment. He may, in fact, be the only contact that many students make when they need assistance.  Consequently, the relationship between Neil and these students is very important. At all times, Neil maintains a professional demeanour while exhibiting empathy for the difficult learning environment in which students find themselves. These students are lucky to have someone so knowledgeable who is genuinely interested in their success and who can appropriately convey his concern for the challenges they are facing.”

    “Neil is always interested in the opportunity to work on a new project that extends beyond his normal job duties.  Most recently, with the move to online teaching, the Service Course Committee recommended that some written assignments in Math 1P98 be replaced with online assignments.  This required that several new online assignments be developed, and Neil readily agreed to work with one of our part-time instructors to create them for the fall term.”

  • Congratulations to our former student Rachel Van Herk

    Rachel Van Herk, Honour Bachelor of Science, Math & Stats co-op student, one of our recipients for the “Co-op Students of the Year” award at Brock, is the winner for the Provincial “Co-op Student of the Year” award this year. All the recipients for our “Co-op Students of the Year” awards will be announced next week during the National Co-op & Work Integrated Learning week. MARCOM is running a story of Rachel which will be live on Brock News next Monday. Congratulations to Rachel!

  • Brock International Number Theory Conference II

    Brock International Number Theory Conference II

    Celebrating the 70th birthday of Professor Mohamed Ayad

    May 2-3, 2019

    Organizer: Omar Kihel

    Plenary speakers:

    Henri Darmon, McGill University, Canada
    Ram Murty, Queens University, Canada

    Invited speakers:

    Saban Alaca, Carleton University, Canada
    Farid Bencherif, USTHB, Algiers, Algeria
    Boualem Benseba, USTHB, Algiers, Algeria
    Nacira Berbara, USTHB, Algeria
    Pierre Debes, Université de Lille, France
    Karl Dilcher, Dalhousie University, Canada
    Peter Fleischmann, University of Kent, England
    Takao Komatsu, Wuhan University, China
    Claude Levesque, Université Laval, Canada
    Sukrawan Mavecha, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Bangkok, Thailand
    Ayad Mohamed, Université du Littoral à Calais, Calais, France
    Kumar Murty, Toronto University, Canada
    Djiby Sow, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal
    Abdelmoumen Zekiri, USTHB, Algiers, Algeria

    For those who wish to present a contributed talk (20 minutes, questions included) please send the abstract (pdf and source file) by e-mail to: before April 03, 2019.

    Registration fee $U 70. (will cover refreshments during breaks and a reception on May 2, 2019).

    There is no registration fee for invited speakers.


  • Our Prospective Math Teachers Integrating Programming in Niagara School Classrooms

    As part of a new experiential learning component to MATH 3P41, the MICA III course for future math teachers taught by Professor Chantal Buteau, students paired with Niagara Catholic District School Board teachers in order to develop and implement programming-based math activities in the classroom.

    Their work is now available online for other teachers to use:

    The collaborative initiative with Niagara Catholic falls under, and is partially funded by, the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Mathematics Knowledge Network, for which Buteau is a Brock representative.

    For the full article in Brock news:

    Students introduce innovative ways to make math fun

  • Colloquium Talk: Vitali Vougalter

    Department of Mathematics & Statistics Colloquium Talk

    Vitali Vougalter

    University of Toronto

    Department of Mathematics


    Wednesday, September 5, 2018

    15:00 – 16:00



    On the well-posedness of the magnetic, semi-relativistic Schrodinger-Poisson system



    We prove global existence and uniqueness of strong solutions for the Schrodinger-Poisson system in the repulsive Coulumb case with relativistic, magnetic kinetic energy

  • Congratulations to Professor Xioajian Xu and Professor Chantal Buteau

    We congratulate Professor Xu and Professor Buteau who were both recently promoted to Full Professor.

  • Our Prospective Math Teachers Integrating Programming in Niagara School Classrooms

    As part of a new experiential learning component to MATH 3P41, the MICA III course for future math teachers taught by Professor Chantal Buteau, students paired with Niagara Catholic District School Board teachers in order to develop and implement programming-based math activities in the classroom.

    The collaborative initiative with Niagara Catholic falls under, and is partially funded by, the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Mathematics Knowledge Network, for which Buteau is a Brock representative.

    For the full article in Brock news:

  • OAME Golden Section Spring Conference

    Golden Section of OAME, Brock University’s Faculty of Mathematics
    and Science, Faculty of Education, and Department of Mathematics


    The OAME Golden Section Spring Conference

    Ahead by a Century . . . Strategies for Keeping You on the Cutting Edge

    Thursday April 19, 2018

    Session A: 4:00pm – 5:15pm

    A1: Teaching Mathematics Through Inquiry/Project Based Learning
    Presenter: Gillian Berard & Mary Vetere, NCDSB

    A2: The Great Escape!
    Presenter: Laura Cronshaw & Jaime Rootes, NCDSB

    A3: How Problem Solving Supports Differentiated Instruction in the Mathematics Classroom
    Presenter: Melissa Wigglesworth & Kim Cruise, NCDSB

    A3.14: Special Education Through the Lens of the Renewed Mathematics Strategy
    Presenter: Anthony DiToro, NCDSB

    A4: Creating a Thinking Classroom . . . One Step at a Time
    Presenters: Tricia Brenneman, Elizabeth Pattison, DSBN

    A5: Ideas for MAT 1LK and MAT 2LK
    Presenter: Pamela Chun, DSBN

    A6: A Fresh Look at Diagnostic Assessments (Grade 9)
    Presenter: Jeff Martin, NCDSB

    A7: I Want to Learn Geogebra . . . Help!!!
    Presenter: Angelo Lillo, DSBN

    Session B: 5:30pm – 6:45pm

    B1: Mathematics Through a Leadership Lens
    Presenter: Chris Moscato, NCDSB

    B2: Fractions in Pieces
    Presenters: Susan Ume, NCDSB

    B3: Growth Mindset in the Primary Mathematics Classroom
    Presenters: Luana Kent, NCDSB

    B4: Creating a Thinking Classroom . . . One Step at a Time
    Presenters: Tricia Brenneman & Elizabeth Pattison , DSBN

    B5: Strands? Expectations? Categories? How Do I Record Marks When I Spiral With Activities?
    Presenters: Alison Pridham & Deanna Ward , DSBN

    B6: Breaking Away from a Workbook in MEL3E/4E
    Presenter: Danielle Grebenc, DSBN

    B7: MCF3M – The Middle Child
    Presenter: Jennifer Corbett, DSBN

    Registration Information

    All registration will be done electronically at

    Sign in, click on Choose Conference, then click on Online Registration for Golden Mini-Conference 2018.
    If you have questions regarding registration, please e-mail:
    Other questions can be directed to: or

    For more information, click for the full poster