At the Faculty of Mathematics and Science Celebration of Excellence on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022, Dr. Chantal Buteau from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics was awarded the Distinguished Research Award. Among her many contributions, Dr. Buteau has led a 5-year SSHRC-funded research project examining how post-secondary students (mathematics undergraduates) learn to use computer programming for mathematical investigation, simulation, and real-world modeling. For further information, please see this article in the Brock News. Congratulations Chantal!
News and events
Faculty, staff and students are welcome to join Dr. Markus Neuhäuser (Department of Mathematics and Technology Koblenz University of Applied Sciences in Remagen, Germany) for a colloquium talk on Thursday, May 19th, 2022, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM in GSB 305.
Students in Mathematics and Statistics are encouraged to attend.
Both, non-normal data and heteroscedasticity, are very common in various applications. In this case, nonparametric location-scale tests and/or tests for the nonparametric Behrens-Fisher problem can be appropriate. Because the hypotheses for these two approaches differ, it is discussed which hypothesis is justified in which situation. Moreover, an overview of available tests for the two-sample problem is given. Classical nonparametric tests as well as novel and little-known methods are included. Simulation results are presented in order to compare the different tests. A special focus is given to non-continuous distributions as ties frequently occur in practices. Examples and computational issues are also mentioned.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
A collaborative research team, whose members include our own Dr. Tianyu Guan and Dr. Ejaz Ahmed (Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science) has been awarded $200,000 for a three-year sport analytics project. For further details, please see the article in The Brock News. Congratulations to Dean Ahmed and Dr. Guan!
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.”
One of former MICA students, Dr. Laura Broley (BSc ”13) is now a visiting post-doc fellow here in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Please see her story in the Brock News. Congratulations to Dr. Broley on her continuing success!
Our Statistics Master student Brayden Prentice was hired as a Methodologist by Statistics Canada starting September 2020, Congratulations to Brayden!Categories: News
Friday, June 19, 2020, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm EDT
Celia Hoyles & Richard Noss University College London, UK
Mapping a Way Forward for Computing and Mathematics: Reflections on the UCL ScratchMaths Project
In England, computing (including a sizeable component of programming) is compulsory for all students from age 6 to 16 years old. In this talk, we briefly describe the UCL ScratchMaths research project, which started in 2014, and developed a 2-year curriculum for 9-11year olds in England aligned to the mandatory national computing and national mathematics primary curricula. We will share the project’s findings derived from its internal and external evaluations, reflect on limitations, offer what we judge to be exemplary tasks and finally, suggest fruitful next steps for research and practice.
FREE registration – visit the MKN website
Prof. Chantal Buteau is co-hosting, with Prof George Gadanidis (Western University), an international online seminar series on Programming in Mathematics Education starting June 19 until August 28, 2020. See the attached poster program.
Registration is free: http://mkn-rcm.ca/online-seminar-series-on-programming-in-mathematics-education/.
At the first seminar held on June 19, 166 registrations from 24 countries had been received (registrations continue to arrive as the series continues). This seminar aims at the following demographics: half academics, a quarter graduate and undergraduate students, and a quarter elementary and secondary school teachers and leaders.
The series is funded in part by the Mathematics Knowledge Network (MKN), hosted a the Fields Institute and financed by the Ontario Ministry of Education, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (S.S.H.R.C).
All seminars are recorded and available on the MKN website (URL from above).
For inquiry, please contact Prof Buteau at cbuteau [AT] brocku.ca