The common denominators: A collaborative approach to teaching reasoning skills through literature and mathematics
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At a highly technical institution, this interdisciplinary problem-solving course was designed for students who had been placed on probation or suspended. Two professors, with divergent backgrounds in mathematics and literature, collaborated in the research, planning and teaching. The course stresses the cross-disciplinary applications of “tools” such as analogy, using a variety of assignments in mathematics, logic and literature. The importance of both “ill-structured” and “well-structured problems” is discussed, as is the rationale for including oral presentations, group problems, and a formal debate in the curriculum. The article emphasizes the value of cross-disciplinary collaboration for studentsand faculty, as it presents an approach to teaching reasoning skills that could be applied to a variety of academic settings.
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