Canadian Mathematical Society, Ottawa, ON K1G3V4
613-733-2662 ext 733

Education Sessions


Friday December 4 | 11:15am - 12:45pm EST

Brian Forrest (Waterloo)

Bernardo Galvao-Sousa (Toronto)


What I know now about teaching online that I didn't know before COVID-19


As we have transitioned to online teaching we have had to make adjustments to our usual practice. That said, we may have found new and innovative ways to cover our curriculum and engage students. Sometimes, online teaching helps us to think differently about our in-person teaching as well. In this panel, we will look at what we have learned from the transition to online teaching. We will highlight ideas that have worked well and share learning we will take into our future in-person classes. We will have time for conversation and questions.

CMS |CMESG Working Group

Two 90-minute sessions, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoon, December 5th and 6th starting at 3pm (EDT).

Judy Larsen (Fraser Valley) and Miroslav Lovric (McMaster)

Hacking COVID-19: Sharing experiences with online teaching


Building on the tradition of CMESG annual meetings, this working group meeting will consist of two 90-minute sessions, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoon, starting at 3pm (EDT). 

We have all transitioned into various forms of online teaching this past year. Our practices have been contested and challenged, and we likely now have ideas for how to improve our teaching strategies in future terms. This working group will focus on sharing participant experiences with online teaching, towards emerging implications for future practice. More specifically, on day 1, we will generate discussion about what participants have been doing in their classrooms, how it has worked, and what they plan to change next term. Participants will be invited to share their concerns, both academic and personal, pertaining to COVID-19 related teaching modifications. On day 2, we will have a sequence of mini pecha-kucha style presentations, where participants will have opportunities to share their tips and strategies about technology (beyond the usual), assessment, and encouraging student engagement and motivation. We will end both days with a general discussion to draw out key ideas. 

The success of this working group depends heavily (no pressure!) on your contributions and willingness to share your successes and failures. All CMS and CMESG members are welcome.


Andie Burazin (Toronto)

Lauren DeDieu (Calgary)

Miroslav Lovric (McMaster)

Creative Assessments in the COVID-19 times


We are interested to know specifically what questions/problems you’re using in your online assessments (homework, projects, tests, exam), and to hear about reactions from your students, together with your thoughts and critique. In particular, we’d like to hear about non-standard questions, i.e., the ones that you used knowing that your assessment is online. Did it work? If you were concerned about cheating, did your questions (together with your testing strategy) manage to reduce it?

You are welcome to present an entire assessment, or discuss a small subset of questions from your test. Although we are interested in standard first year courses (calculus, linear algebra), we will happily welcome your questions from other first year courses you’ve been teaching, and from level two math and stats courses as well. As a take-away, we will prepare a handout with all questions discussed in the session.


Andie Burazin (Toronto)

Peter Taylor (Queen’s)

The Legacy of Mindstorms


This is the 40th anniversary of the publication of Seymour Papert’s (1980) landmark monograph Mindstorms. Mitch Resnick of the MIT Media Lab has written a forward to an anniversary edition of this remarkable book.  In this he observes that Papert took Piaget’s idea that learning is best described as constructing knowledge to the next critical level, that children need construction projects in the classroom. That appears to be about children but in an earlier paper he comments on the trend that primary school and even kindergarten seem to be moving away from play-based learning towards more direct instruction of skills of literacy and numeracy . He asserts

In my mind, exactly the opposite is needed: Instead of making kindergarten like the rest of school, we need to make the rest of school (indeed, the rest of life) more like kindergarten.

The purpose of this session is to propose potential “construction projects” in first-year courses.