Communicating Mathematical Sciences
Maths and statistics students are in line to benefit from a new programme of learning developed by the universities of Kent and Brighton. Working collaboratively with support from the London & South East Spoke and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), the project will help students to enhance their skills in communicating mathematical and scientific ideas.
The project aim is; to enhance communication skills within mathematical science students through training sessions and curriculum enhancements and to support students to effectively volunteer as STEM ambassadors. Undertaking research into the recruitment of student ambassadors, the project also incorporates HE STEM resource such as ‘Maths in a Box’. Piloting these recruitment techniques and training newly recruited students has commenced, outreach activities are being undertaken within schools. Voluntary uptake at both universities was helped by sharing skills and resource to engage with mathematics students, currently underrepresented within STEM ambassadorial roles.
The provision of key communication skills within mathematics modules at Kent and Brighton has been reviewed. Specialist communication skills around oral presentation, mathematical writing and grammar have been incorporated into new Communicating Mathematics modules at Brighton and Kent.
A ‘step by step’ approach to engaging with potential ambassadors and students wishing to voluntarily improve their communications skills has been utilised. Informal coffee time meetings were employed to engage with 10-15 students. 5 minute talks helped students gain confidence with groups. Short written pieces improved structure and general grammar. Intensive sessions, together with the introduction of ambassador schemes and serving ambassadors, during subject delivery lectures, have yielded interesting responses, showing that many students are more willing to volunteer than anticipated if recommended by fellow students.
With further project meetings planned, a short guide to recruiting students to such programmes will be produced. The project team hope to present at the HE STEM National Conference in September 2012.
For more info see the project's page here.