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  • Overleaf Supports the UNG Mathematics Immersion Project

    Posted by Paul on December 3, 2019

    The University of North Georgia (UNG) Math Immersion Project is focused on helping mathematics majors transition from problem-solving math courses to proof-intensive courses.

    The Immersion Project aims to help students smoothly transition between problem-solving maths (2 years at the start), and proof-based maths (2 years at the end). The project launched in response to students struggling with the transition between the two.

    Dr. Robert Sinn and Dr. Karen Briggs, from the Mathematics Department at UNG, developed the idea for a math immersion project based on the immersion concept of when students study abroad in order to learn the language and culture.

    The UNG Mathematics Immersion Project uses immersion pedagogies applied to the “transition to proof” portion of the undergraduate mathematics major.

    The same group of students take four math courses which are taught by two professors: Intro to Proofs Linear Algebra Probability and Statistics Abstract Algebra.

    Overleaf Use in the Immersion Project

    Overleaf was a core element of how the Immersion Project functioned during its initial pilot in the fall of 2018, and will once again be used throughout the second iteration of the project this year.

    As part of the project, there are five team assignments where students typeset their proofs in Overleaf. They then share them with their partner, before presenting to their peers in class using Overleaf.

    Dr. Robb Sinn, Professor, Mathematics UNG said: “During this intensive, 12-hour per week immersion, the students collaborate on proofs of “cross-cutting” theorems, the ideas of which apply to more than one class. They submit proofs and then present those proofs. The collaborations are enhanced by Overleaf sharing, and we instructors share templates with them. We have at least five presentation days, which are much easier with Overleaf. They all share their proofs with me the night before, and there is no downtime while someone uploads a proof. They click through my Overleaf to their project, hit compile, and they’re presenting.”

    Overleaf is also used heavily by faculty during the immersion project, including by instructors and researchers to share lecture notes, teaching ideas, and project evaluations.

    Overleaf Solving Problems at UNG

    Overleaf also helps make it easy for those involved in the project to fix a proof on the spot, even during presentations. Students simply have to share the LaTeX file with the research team on Overleaf and then come to them during office hours. And although they submit their proofs the night before, they can still edit right up until class begins. Following the presentations, the project team uses Overleaf to create a shared proof portfolio that includes proofs of all the assigned cross-cutting theorems.

    Before this, they used email and MS Word to pass ideas back and forth, which didn’t lend itself well for mathematical concepts. They’ve found Overleaf made the sharing of ideas much easier. Plus, the research team goes through the course notes, which they access via Overleaf.

    “In short, we use Overleaf every day, and the ability to have our students share their work with us (and for us to share with them) is incredibly valuable,” concluded Dr. Robb Sinn, Professor, Mathematics UNG.

    Future Relationship Between Overleaf and UNG Immersion Project

    We’ve renewed our partnership with the UNG Immersion Project and are proud to be supporting them with their work on researching the efficacy of using this approach to mathematics. The UNG team intends to submit a Level 1 grant ($300,000 for up to 3 years) to the National Science Foundation’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education to support a full research investigation into this early next year.

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