Mathematics Education Research
Education is challenged to come up with new ideas about teaching and learning in the mathematical sciences, such as mathematics and statistics, where disciplines have to react to a fast-changing world. Educators are challenged to use new curricula, devise new teaching strategies, and come up with new assessment methods that are in tune with the working world that graduates will be entering post-study. Accordingly, there is enormous pressure on and within university systems to improve many aspects of teaching and learning in the sciences and in mathematics and statistics in particular, with no shortage of ideas as to how professional practice could be positively developed.
In statistics and mathematics, however, there are additional factors that call for research and international collaboration to ensure best practices are followed in the education of these disciplines. Studies in Science, Commerce and Engineering, require at least one module to be offered by Mathematics or Statistics departments. This puts constraints on these disciplines, having to deal with large classes of mixed ability students.
The digital age has resulted in changes in the ways in which data is captured and analysed, so that statistics education needs to constantly be reviewed and updated to be in touch with the changing world that the graduates will be entering. There is further an exponential growth in the need for data analytics capabilities of non-statisticians, calling for statistics departments to run training workshops in statistical analysis, reporting and decision making from data for the University, Government, Banks and Industry. Statistics departments must react to a continuously changing work environment, produce “job ready” graduates and find ways to push the boundaries of the discipline and come up with innovative ideas in teaching.