The OCMA Virtual Symposium 2020

The OCMA Virtual Symposium

Digitally sync with your colleagues from colleges across Ontario to:

  • discover ways to help build algebra and numeracy skills
  • incorporate OERs and new learning frameworks in online environments
  • expand your math teaching footprint in new vocational and cultural directions
  • share successes and challenges in teaching math during a global pandemic

Date: October 27 - 29, 2020

Location: Your office or your couch

Cost: None


The OCMA is proud to release the program to our 100% online, 100% free virtual symposium held October 27th - 29th, 2020. Have a look at our 14 sessions involving resources, strategies / ideas, and online learning and 3 end-of-day networking spaces to share your successes and challenges in teaching math remotely.

Download Program

Tuesday, October 27

9 - 10 am

Seven Reasons Why You Should Ditch BEDMAS

Replacing the teaching of BEDMAS with the Analysis-Synthesis Technique can help one learn to use algebra as a language to encode information into and decode information from algebraic expressions, equations and formulas. While BEDMAS works, there are numerous problems associated with its use. Its teaching leads to a major block in helping learners become fluent in the use of algebraic tools. These shortcomings can be overcome by replacing BEDMAS with the Analysis-Synthesis Technique which focuses on the syntax of algebra as a language to deal with
the ever-increasing level of complexity of the types of problems that we solve.

Afshin Azari-Vala, George Brown College

10 - 11 am

Learning Business Statistics

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition; they somehow already know what you want to become”. This quote from Steve Jobs romanticizes intuition as a key decision-making factor for success in business and life. However, we as educators know that data-driven organizations are three times more likely to report significant improvements in decision-making compared to those that rely on their gut or a hunch. This reality has led to our commitment to teaching students statistics contextualized for business applications in a digitally rich environment, ensuring that they see immense value in its use. Last year, we launched a new
business statistics resource for Canadian students. Find out how this resource has evolved and provides students with exceptional tools and transformational experiences at Canadian

Joshua Emmanuel, Humber College, Sean Saunders, Sheridan College, and Lisa MacKay,
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

12 - 1 pm

OERs and the Vision of Mathematics Education in the Open

In this presentation, I will share the latest movement of Open Education Resources in the higher education domain and the implications they bring to mathematics. This presentation will touch on how to implement open education resources and open technological tools into daily teaching practices, write your open textbooks in Pressbooks, use H5P to build interactive
assessments, and discuss the opportunities and challenges lying ahead of us with the whole OCMA community.

Xinli Wang, University of Toronto Mississauga/Humber College

1 - 2 pm

Teaching Synchronously with Pear Deck

In this presentation I’m going to share my experiences with teaching mathematics
synchronously with Blackboard Collaborate and Pear Deck. Pear Deck is a tool that allows
teachers to embed interactive questions to slides to get students engaged in math. I will show how to set-up Pear Deck, how I have embedded interactive questions, and how I’ve assessed student thinking and provided feedback live!

Elisa Romeo, George Brown College 

3 - 4 pm

Decolonizing and Indigenizing Math Learning Spaces

The first step in the process of Reconciliation and Indigenization is awareness and putting
ourselves in the mindset of Decolonizing. In this engaging and reflective session, we will survey the Eurocentric history of mathematics as we know it and open our minds to different ways of knowing and learning. The main aim of this session is to share current research and discuss thoughts and ideas. We hope that by the end of this session participants will reflect upon their current practices.

Srishta Chopra, Emily Tian, Darcie Brown, Matthew Cheung, Centennial College

4 - 5 pm

Social Discussion Time/Happy Hour!

Wednesday, October 28

9 - 10 am

The Health Numeracy Project Update

Thanks to the pandemic, the Health Numeracy Project has kicked into high gear. We have been busy building a classroom integration application for basic math and numeracy which is flexible, adaptable to synchronous and asynchronous learning. And free! With over 4000 questions in 8
modules covering over 140 topics (mostly focused on health sciences), there is surely something in the application that can enrich any college classroom where numbers are involved. (Draft/prototype version available @ https://uat.healthnumeracyproject.com/gizmo/ please email me to get access to the teacher portal tgula@georgebrown.ca).

Taras Gulas, George Brown College

10 - 11 am

The Art and Science of Teaching Online Statistics

In this presentation, I will explore the area of designing and teaching online STEM courses and share my experience in researching, designing, and teaching an online statistics course, which was developed and designed within the “From STEM to STEAM” initiative in a Community of Inquiry theoretical framework. This course is a “collage” of different activities including art-inspired
elements. The community of inquiry framework provided conceptual guidance to the study and practice of online learning. I believe this case study provides useful insights into benefits and challenges of creating effective and engaging online statistics and mathematics courses.

Elena Chudaeva, George Brown College

12 - 1pm

Teaching Vocational Mathematics

In terms of curriculum, the transition from K–12 math education to college has a significant amount of branching into different types of vocational mathematics. This session will look at the scope of the issue from the point of view of the mathematics involved. What happens mathematically? How might we get an edge on addressing the challenges?

Tim Sibbald, Nipissing University

1 - 2 pm

There are Lots of Benefits from Online Learning

This session is all about the advantages of online learning. No need to fight traffic on the way to class! Communication is direct – teacher to student. Everything in our courses can be stated and explained in detail on the screen. Online learning can be flexible. Can’t come in when class is scheduled? No problem with online learning! These and other advantages will be explained and
fleshed out in this session.

Yawei (Johnson) Yang, George Brown College

3 - 4 pm

Inside and Outside the Classroom with Business Mathematics

Out of the 1.2 million small, medium, and large businesses in Canada, small businesses account for 97.9%! This statistic shows the importance of entrepreneurship in our country. Small businesses play an immensely large role in job creation and the success of our economy As educators of business and finance mathematics, we need to provide our students with effective, high-quality, and contextual learning experiences to ensure a high level of passion in the subject. In this
session, we will be sharing different strategies that we have used for students to integrate
business and finance mathematics into their lives, ensuring that they remain engaged, invested, and on the edge of using business mathematics to become financially savvy future entrepreneurs
of our country.

Lisa Mackay and Paul Obour, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

4 - 5 pm

Social Discussion Time/Happy Hour!

Thursday, October 29

9 - 10 am

Number Systems and Alternative Notations for use in Theoretical and Applied Contexts

This presentation begins with a look at two commonly used classification schemes to represent numbers: the historic scheme (whole numbers, fractions, decimals, signed numbers and irrational numbers) and the formal scheme (natural numbers, N, integers, Z, rational numbers, Q and real numbers, R). The latter is tied to the need for closure with respect to the various operations that are used in problem-solving, as we move from the simplest of the problems to increasingly more complex problems. The presentation will then move to alternative notations used to represent the different types of numbers: the formal notation (used to represent the
numbers in N, Z, Q and R) and base-ten notations (decimals and scientific notation). We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each notation and show how the strengths of each notation can be exploited in the communication of ideas in theoretical and applied contexts.

Afshin Azari-Vala, George Brown College

10 - 11 am

Raising the Level of Numeracy in Our Province through OCMT – 16 Years in the Making!

Our provincial math diagnostic and upgrading resource OCMT has been continuing to serve the needs of students and educators at high schools, colleges, and universities by strengthening student confidence and preparing them for success in their math courses. Learn more in this
session about the recent implementations, psychometric analysis, partnerships, and
technological evolution that have been made over the past 12 months to bring this innovative assessment-for-learning experience in the hands of our students, preparing them for success in

Emily Brown, Sheridan College, and James Howell, Vretta Inc.


12 - 1 pm

Innovation in Mathematics and Statistics for Health Sciences

Our country continues to be evaluated on its overall health-care, and the reports show a great rating! We as educators continue to commit to raising the quality of our health-care providers through the delivery of cutting-edge innovations in mathematics and statistics in health sciences courses. Two years ago, Vretta launched a new resource that was tailored to the provincial curriculum for health sciences. Join us to discuss the evolution of this resource through the feedback that we have received.

Sean Saunders, Sheridan College, and Irene Lee, Humber College

1 - 2 pm

The (Mathematical) Write Stuff

Sometimes it seems that college mathematics professors and high school mathematics teachers live in two different worlds even though they are connected by the same subject. In large part, this is due to a lack of communication, and this presentation will address that from the vantage point of the Ontario Association of Mathematics Educators. Its publication, the OAME Gazette, has altered its reviewing process for articles originating from college professors in an effort to hear more from them. The presentation is about how to tailor ideas to suit the OAME audience and provide details of the publication process.

Tim Sibbald, Nipissing University

3 - 4 pm

Social Discussion Time/Happy Hour!

All Events


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