‘It has given me a real insight into how to teach’
Names: Sidney Tyrrell, Pavenpreet Mahal, Muha Hassan
Job Titles: ST – Senior Lecturer in Statistics, PM. and MH – Year 12 students
Organisation: Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Engineering Science, Coventry University
Sidney Tyrrell is a Senior Lecturer in Statistics at Coventry University. During the months of July and August 2008, Pavenpreet Mahal (a Year 12 student from President Kennedy School) and Muha Hassan (a Year 12 student from Barrs Hill School) worked under the supervision of Sidney on a Nuffield Bursary placement within the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Engineering Science.
Can you tell us a little about the department?
Sidney : Here at Coventry University we have many initiatives to provide Mathematics and Statistics support to our students. In particular, we have a Centre of Excellence in the teaching and learning of the subjects as well as a Drop In Centre available to the whole faculty.
What made you interested in the Nuffield Bursary Scheme?
Pavenpreet : I want to go on to teach Maths in the future and I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn about various methods for teaching Maths and also give me the opportunity to learn some new Maths.
Muha : I wanted to see where Maths could take me and learn some new things about Maths.
Can you describe the project which was completed in the 5 week placement?
Sidney : The aim here was to create some additional learning materials for a first year undergraduate module here at Coventry which is for students in the Business School. Some of our students come here with slightly shaky foundations in Mathematics and Statistics and the project focused on creating learning resources in short, sharp bites (video clips, PowerPoint presentations) covering a variety of the coursework topics from Percentages to Linear Programming.
Pavenpreet : I covered topics such as Editing and Creating Charts in Excel and Net Present Values. We both made short PowerPoint presentations covering the basic concepts on each of our topics.
Muha : Some of the topics which I covered included A Topic of Interest and Pivot Tables. There was an Excel workshop based on each topic and we used the screen capture software, Camtasia, to create short videos which went through each stage of these workshops.
What have you learned in the project?
Muha : Well I know how to use Excel 2007 now and I have also learned some brand new topics in Mathematics such as Critical Path Analysis.
Pavenpreet: I learned a lot about Camtasia and how to use Microsoft Office. The project has also given me a great insight into methods of teaching Maths which will be extremely valuable in the future.
Sidney : It has really been fun and inspiring to have enthusiastic young people with fresh ideas on this project. It has inspired me to use Camtasia more myself now. I now have some very good resources which I’m sure will be extremely beneficial to my students.
To find out more about the Nuffield Foundation and Nuffield Science Bursaries visit the website www.nuffieldfoundation.org.