It is our conclusion that while most current courses do an excellent job of educating students deeply in the given subject matter, students need ways to learn about the connections of that subject matter with the larger mathematical and scientific world, with current research, and with society and technology. Because the ability of stuents to add additional courses is limited (as are the needed departmental resources) we have chosen to design small modules which address these issues, that can be taught in one to three days, and so can be a part of many conventional courses -- differential equations, linear algebra, modern algebra, etc.

Modules should present material normally not covered in the course, make connections, and, above all, encourage further exploration, discovery, and research. Modules are appropriate at all levels of instruction, and their general purpose is to provide a meaningful connection between core course material and higher level research. In particular, we expect modules to:

  • Give undergraduate students who are not currently majoring in mathematics an idea of actual research which involves mathematics. For the majority of our service-course students, who will not major in mathematics, there is value in indicating the broader context of their course work.

  • Expand undergraduate majors' views of mathematical research, and connect material from different courses.

  • Introduce graduate students to research areas represented in our department.

  • Strengthen the connections between our faculty, and develop our ability to explain difficult mathematics to broader audiences.