The Mathematical Inquiry Project: Effecting Widespread, Sustainable Instructional Change

Michael Tallman
Assistant Professor
Oklahoma State University

Summary:The Mathematical Inquiry Project (MIP) is an NSF-funded collaboration of mathematics faculty from all 27 public institutions of higher education in Oklahoma to support inquiry-based learning in entry-level undergraduate mathematics courses. This poster reports on the development of a community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998), including shifts in the participants’ conceptions of the community’s joint enterprise and their identities in relation to it.The overarching goal of the MIP is to effect widespread, sustainable instructional change across institutions, using a grassroots model that offers opportunities for ongoing professional development. The research component of the project focuses on the emergence and evolution of a statewide community of practice. As such, the project provides insight into the activities that are productive for building a statewide community of practice and fostering institutional change.We report on preliminary findings regarding the identity trajectories of individual faculty, specifically changes in their goals and participation throughout their engagement in project activities. The data set consists of videos of workshop sessions and responses to written surveys. Our results indicate that faculty participants have broadly shifted their image of (i) academic success skills in entry-level college mathematics from a collection of behaviors to a focus on underlying affective characteristics, (ii) their participation in the project as recipients of knowledge and resources developed by others to leaders in a statewide effort, and (iii) the value of conceptual analysis (Thompson, 2008) to guide instructional design and to provide criteria for evaluation and revision. Although only modest shifts were observed around faculty images of active learning and meaningful applications, we anticipate that these will primarily evolve as they participate in instructional design required to incorporate these features with guided review and discussion with other faculty. References:Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Thompson, P. W. (2008). Conceptual analysis of mathematical ideas: Some spadework at the foundations of mathematics education. In Proceedings of the annual meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 1, pp. 31-49). PME Morelia, Mexico.Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.


John Paul Cook, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK; Allison Dorko, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK; Josiah Ireland, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK; William Jaco, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK; Michael Oehrtman, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK