The focus of this research is how Sicilian state university mathematics professors faced the challenge of teaching via distance education during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic entered our lives suddenly, the professors found themselves having to lecture using an e-learning platform that they had never used before, and for which they could not receive training due to the health emergency. In addition to the emotional aspects related to the particular situation of the pandemic, there are two aspects to consider when teaching mathematics at a distance. The first is related to the fact that at university level, lecturers generally teach mathematics in a formal way, using many symbols and formulas that they are used to writing. The second aspect is that the way mathematics is taught is also related to the students to whom the teaching is addressed. In fact, not only online, but also in face-to-face modality, the teaching of mathematics to students on the mathematics degree course involves a different approach to lessons (as well as to the choice of topics to explain) than teaching mathematics in another degree course. In order to investigate how the Sicilian State university mathematics professors taught mathematics at distance, a questionnaire was prepared and administered one month after the beginning of the lockdown in Italy. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were made, which allowed us to observe the way that university professors have adapted to the new teaching modality: they started to appropriate new artifacts (writing tablets, mathematical software, e-learning platform) to replicate their face-to-face teaching modality, mostly maintaining their blackboard teacher status. Their answers also reveal their beliefs related to teaching mathematics at university level, noting what has been an advantageous or disadvantageous for them in distance teaching.

Teaching Mathematics at Distance: A Challenge for Universities

Ferrarello D.;Mammana M. F.;Musso P.;Pennisi M.;Taranto E.
2020

Abstract

The focus of this research is how Sicilian state university mathematics professors faced the challenge of teaching via distance education during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic entered our lives suddenly, the professors found themselves having to lecture using an e-learning platform that they had never used before, and for which they could not receive training due to the health emergency. In addition to the emotional aspects related to the particular situation of the pandemic, there are two aspects to consider when teaching mathematics at a distance. The first is related to the fact that at university level, lecturers generally teach mathematics in a formal way, using many symbols and formulas that they are used to writing. The second aspect is that the way mathematics is taught is also related to the students to whom the teaching is addressed. In fact, not only online, but also in face-to-face modality, the teaching of mathematics to students on the mathematics degree course involves a different approach to lessons (as well as to the choice of topics to explain) than teaching mathematics in another degree course. In order to investigate how the Sicilian State university mathematics professors taught mathematics at distance, a questionnaire was prepared and administered one month after the beginning of the lockdown in Italy. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were made, which allowed us to observe the way that university professors have adapted to the new teaching modality: they started to appropriate new artifacts (writing tablets, mathematical software, e-learning platform) to replicate their face-to-face teaching modality, mostly maintaining their blackboard teacher status. Their answers also reveal their beliefs related to teaching mathematics at university level, noting what has been an advantageous or disadvantageous for them in distance teaching.
COVID-19 pandemic; university mathematics professors; teaching mathematics at a distance; blackboard teacher; teacher beliefs
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/492205
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