Help with Calculus

Emily BraleyStudents in Duke’s single variable calculus courses now have a site with additional, curated resources tied to the course content to help them learn. Emily Braley (Assistant Professor of the Practice in Math) has designed Calculus Concepts to include a brief explanation of the main concept followed by links and descriptions of online exercises and explanations from around the internet. These resources were selected to support the course content, vetted for accuracy and annotated to help students get the most out of the materials. Calculus Concepts was recommended to all students enrolled in Math 111L and 112L at Duke this past spring. Emily will continue to build this site of resources as she teaches two sections of Math 111L this fall, and she encourages her students to comment on the presented materials.

calculus studentsEmily learned several things as she built Calculus Concepts and talked with students. One is that “students love Khan academy” for its simple explanations. In her search for appropriate material, she’s found that some of the resources available online contain errors or omissions detrimental to student learning; she’s contacted some of the authors of the incorrect materials and has been pleasantly surprised that they are friendly and amenable to suggestions.

For some concepts, and particularly lab applications, suitable materials are not yet available. The Duke Mathematics Department is in the process of recording some of its own videos in connection with several projects in the Department. Emily’s work will inform some of the content that is created by both identifying needs and informing the video style (similar to the popular Khan Academy videos).

Calculus Concepts was funded by a CIT JumpStart grant to Anita Layton, Professor of Mathematics and Biomedical Engineering.