Background

What is FYiMaths?

First Year in Maths (FYiMaths) was a project funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching from 2012-2014 in the priority area of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary leadership. It was led by the University of Melbourne in partnership with the University of Adelaide, Curtin University and the University of Sydney. Find out more about the FYiMaths project team.

two students working on laptop computer

The project aimed to examine, promote and support the unique leadership role of first-year coordinators and education specialists by:

  • identifying characteristics of a national first-year culture
  • providing professional-development opportunities and mentorship
  • disseminating outstanding practices and support mechanisms.

The project grew out of interest in understanding how the decline in students studying mathematics is linked to the difficulties in transition between high-school and first-year university mathematics, some relevant factors being diversity in student backgrounds, and varying expectations of academics and approaches to teaching and supporting learning. The FYiMaths project team sensed that the role of first-year subject and program coordinators were key to addressing these challenges.

How did we achieve this?

  • FYiMaths Academic Network
    We created a mathematics education focussed network which supports academics through sharing information, teaching resources, expertise, collaboration opportunities, news and networking events. The project worked with academics teaching and coordinating first-year mathematics in order to build a picture of first-year culture in mathematics, define their role and identify key challenges.
  • FYiMaths Workshops
    These were held throughout the project to provide a forum for networking and information-sharing, as well as developing mentoring connections and a focal point for advocacy.
  • FYiMaths Website
    This website provides access to teaching resources, teaching and learning experts, as well as links to quality information sources about events, resources and new initiatives in teaching first-year mathematics.
  • Case Studies of First Year Mathematics Coordinators  A Handbook for First Year Mathematics Coordinators is currently being developed and will include position profiles and case studies.

Project Activities

  • Early 2013 We conducted interviews with over 30 academics involved in teaching and coordinating first-year mathematics subjects and programs. These interviews have produced a wealth of information about the role of first-year program and subject coordinators and the issues they face in teaching and supporting first-year students.
  • June 2013
    We ran our first workshop for over 40 academics, focusing on identifying the main challenges and how a network could address these.
  • February 2014 we held a national forum, in partnership with the Institute of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Sydney. This forum focused on the impact of assumed knowledge entry requirements for science degrees, which has been identified as a key challenge in teaching mathematics at first year, as well as having broader impact on teaching across STEM disciplines.
  • June 2014 we held our second workshop with over 70 academics coming from across Australia and New Zealand to discuss innovative approaches to teaching maths.
  • Sept- November 2014  analysing interview data in preparation for our final report and case studies.  The network continues to grow with over 130 members across Australia and New Zealand.

Final Report

You can download a copy of the final report from the OLT website.