AMATYC 2011 in Austin

I got back from Austin late on Sunday afternoon and I was happy to be home. That is not to say that the conference in Austin was not good…only that I was happy to be in my own house.

AMATYC’s annual conference is always excellent. Like most escort kızlar of you, I go to steal ideas from others. If I can find five new things to try, the conference is a success for me. I am still sorting through the multitude of websites that were distributed at the conference and I’ll post the best ones later. I gave a presentation on “A Different Strategy for Solving Optimization Problems in Calculus” that you can view online. In the next few weeks, you’ll be able to see many of the resources referenced at the conference at the Proceedings page of AMATYC’s website.

There is one curious thing that most attendees notice when attending the exhibit hall. Between sessions, everyone generally cruises the hall for the various goodies exhibitors like McGraw-Hill, Cengage, Pearson, and Hawkes Systems set out. When you don’t have time to grab a quick bite, popcorn is often the key to conference survival!

At the last few conferences, the Hawkes booth has stood out from all of the rest. It is not necessarily the product, but the people who sell the product. The representatives from Hawkes are generally young, attractive women (there was also a young, attractive man this year!). This begs the queastion, “Is staffing a conference booth with young, attractive people a good strategy?”

Questions like these have recently been the subject of several books:

  • Erotic Capital: The Power of Attraction in the Boardroom and the Bedroom, Catherine Hakim, Basic Books, 2011
  • Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People are More Successful, Daniel S. Hamermesh, Princeton University Press, 2011

The author of the second book, Daniel Hamermesh, is an economist at of all places…the University of Texas at Austin. Although I have not read his book yet, he has a paper on the subject that is publically available, “Beauty is the Promise of Happiness”? There is a lot of good statistics in this paper for all of you stat junkies. The book has also been reviewed by several magazines.

This book has even generated an appearance last night on the Daily Show.

Warning: Some bad taste in the clip below.

 

The author also answered questions from readers of the Freakonomics website recently.

Hamermesh has even examined the effect of beauty in the classsroom.

This makes for fascinating reading…next time you visit the Hawkes booth at  a conference, ask them how they are doing.

Spring 2012 ArizMATYC Conference

The Fall ArizMATYC Conference finished just last Friday and arrangements are already being made for the Spring conference. This conference will be a joint conference with the MAA as well as SUnMaRC. The conference will take place on Friday, March 30 though April 1 at Pima Community College, Downtown Campus.

Sessions on Friday and Saturday morning will be geared toward ArizMATYC and MAA members, but SUnMaRC participants are welcome to attend. Sessions on Saturday afternoon and Sunday are geared toward SUnMaRC participants, but ArizMATYC and MAA members are welcome to attend.

Presenter and presider applications are available on the conference website along with vendor registration materials.

Cheating Scandals

During the Fall 2011 Articulation Meeting at the ArizMATYC conference at Estrella Mountain Community College, several attendees brought up the subject of proctored testing. The suggestion was made that the members of the ATF should pass a resolution regarding proctored testing in mathematics courses. The discussion was eventually tabled and moved to next Spring’s ATF meeting.

On the way back from the ATF meeting, I learned of another cheating scandal that had taken place in New Jersey.

In this scandal, a college sophomore was able to stand in for several students and take their SAT for $1500 to $2500 a pop. He was even able to impersonate a female student with a gender neutral name. This student was able to doctor up New York State drivers licenses and gain entry to the proctored testing environment provided by Educational Testing Services.

This is not an isolated incident. At the elementary school level, teachers have been cheating for their students.

Those teachers were probably once cheating students! I wonder if they had access to the wealth of information on Youtube about cheating on tests. Here are the top 5 videos (with an ad before the actual video):

  1. How to Cheat on any Test #1
  2. How to Cheat on any Test #2
  3. How to Cheat on any Test #3
  4. How to Cheat on any Test #4
  5. How To Cheat on any Test Exams NEW Technology SPY KIT for Students

Each of these videos makes it seem that cheating is completely ethical and a reasonable thing to do.

AMATYC’s Innovative Teaching and Learning Committee is currently developing a position statement on Proctored Testing. At the AMATYC conference in Austin on Thursday, November 10, there will be an Input Hearing on this position statement. If you are at the conference, you can attend this hearing, moderated by Mary Beth Orrange, from 7:30 to 8:00 PM.

Perhaps the issue should not be with proctored testing, but with the ethical level of our students. Just food for thought!

What Is The Law Regarding Complimentary Copies?

In 2008, Arizona revised its laws regarding course materials. In particular, a part of Arizona Revised Statatutes § 15–1891 addresses the issues regarding the selling of textbook copies sent for review to instructors. Section E of this statute says

E. A book buyer or vendor of course materials shall not solicit a faculty member or employee of a university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents or a community college under the jurisdiction of a community college district in this state for the purpose of selling or trading a free sample copy or complimentary teacher editions provided at no charge by a publisher to a faculty member or employee.

In addition to this section of 15-1891, many colleges and universities have adopted policies that restrict the sales of complimentary copies.

So why do the book buyers continue to show up at my door several times a year?

Spring 2011 ArizMATYC and Mathematics ATF Meetings

The Spring ArizMATYC meeting went off without a hitch. Attendance was a bit smaller than the Fall meeting, but the food was excellent. Pearson provided an excellent breakfast buffet and lunch was also excellent. It was well worth the $10 registration fee! Add to that beautiful weather and great conference presentations, you have all of the ingredients of another excellent conference.

Thanks to Dan Russow and all of the faculty at AWC for putting this together.

Arizona Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges