Department of Mathematics and Philosophy
Jim Olsen
Department of Mathematics and Philosophy
Professor and Assistant Department Chair
Education:
Ph. D., University of Northern Colorado (Educational Mathematics)
M.S., Colorado State University (Mathematics)
M.S.Ed., University of Nebraska-Kearney (Mathematics Education)
A.B., Doane University (Mathematics with Teacher Education)
Contact Information:
(309) 298-2315
478 Morgan Hall
jr-olsen@wiu.edu
Office Hours:
Courses Taught:
Math 100: Core Competency in Mathematics
Math 260: Numeric, Algebraic, and Geometric Reasoning for Teaching and Learning
Math 304: Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Reading in Secondary School Mathematics
Math 310: Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometry
Math 355: Applied Combinatorics
Math 364: Teaching Elementary School Mathematics
Math 367: Teaching Middle School Mathematics
Math 402: Investigations in School Geometry
Math 406: Problem Solving and the History of Mathematics
Math 407: Number Theory Concepts in School Mathematics
Math 439: Teaching and Assessment in Secondary School Mathematics
Math 502: Algebraic Mathematical Modeling for Middle School Teachers
Math 503: Methods of Teaching Secondary School Mathematics
Math 504: Research in Secondary Mathematics Education
Math 655: Technology and the Secondary School Mathematics Curriculum
Research Interests:
Research: My research interests are mental math, student understanding of the function concept, multiplicative reasoning (including proportional reasoning and rates), educational uses of technology, student understanding of fractions, decimals, and percents, and problem solving.
Research with students: My work with students is typically on curriculum development projects.
Selected Publications:
- Olsen, J. R. (2015). Five keys for teaching mental math. Mathematics Teacher, 108(7), 543-547. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
- Olsen, J., & Gustafson, D. (2008). A baker's dozen of characterizations of the geometric mean and illuminating representations. ON-Math, Vol 6. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
- Olsen, J. (2007). Windows media encoder to enhance mathematics teaching and learning: This may be the missing link. International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics Proceedings, Boston, MA.
- Olsen, J., Foster, J., & Patterson, M. (2007). After school math games. Illinois Mathematics Teacher, the Official Journal of the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Summer issue.
Recent Conference Presentations:
- Presentation: Standards-Based Assessment: An Easy-to-Use SBA Quiz System, at the N.C.T.M. Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, April, 2017.
- Presentation: The New SAT, ISMAA Annual Meeting, Glen Ellyn, IL, April, 2017.
- Presentation: Desmos: Great for Teachers and Students, at the W.I.U. Mini-Conference on Secondary Mathematics Teaching, Macomb, IL, November, 2016.
- Presentation: Desmos and GeoGebra Updates, at the ICTM Annual Meeting, Peoria, IL, October, 2016.
- Presentation: STEM Through a Wind Turbine, at the ICTM Annual Meeting, Peoria, IL, October, 2016, with A. Singh, R. Mann, and K. Hartweg.
- Workshop: Beauty of Three Dimensional Polyhedra, at the ISMAA Annual Meeting, Jacksonville, IL, April, 2016.
- Presentation: Standards Based Assessment, at the IMACC Annual Meeting, Allerton Park, IL, April, 2016.
- Presentation: Standards Based Assessment: An Informative Way to Assess Your Students, at the W.I.U. Mini-Conference on Secondary Mathematics Teaching, Moline, IL, November, 2015.
- Presentation: Standards Based Grading, at the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) Annual Meeting, Tinley Park, IL, October, 2015, with T. Van Vleet.
- Presentation: Mental Math (in Context) for Grades 7-10, at the ICTM Annual Meeting, Tinley Park, IL, October, 2015.
- Workshop: Beauty of Three Dimensional Polyhedra (in celebration of the MAA's Centennial), at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) MathFest, Washington, DC, August, 2015.
- Presentation: CCSS and PARCC: Finding the Quality Mathematics (There's Plenty), at the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America (ISMAA) Annual Meeting, DeKalb, IL, March, 2015.
- Presentation: Symbols Come to Life: Meaningful Mathematics with A-SSE, at the ICTM Annual Meeting, Tinley Park, IL, October, 2014.
- Presentation: 24 Percent Tweets (24 Tweets on Percent), at the ICTM Annual Meeting, Peoria, IL, October, 2013, and the Illinois Mathematics Association of Community Colleges (IMACC) Annual Conference, April, 2014.
- Presentation: Teacher Education Session: CCSSM, PARCC, and the Model Curriculum, at the ISMAA Annual Meeting, SIU-E and the IMACC Annual Conference, April, 2014.
Recent Grants and Undergraduate Research Supervision:
- Grant: Title II Teacher Quality-Leadership Grant (Race to the Top - a teacher preparation program redesign project) from the Illinois State Board of Education, $26,124 in 2014 (January 2014 through December 2015).
- Seventh Grade Mental Math Curriculum, 2014-2015, Meghan Hoyle, WIU sophomore.
- Mental Math in the Secondary Classroom: Its Importance, a Less-than-stellar (U.S.) Track Record, and Strategies for Teaching, Fall, 2014, Math 444 project, Charlotte Wilson, WIU senior.
- Grant: Western Illinois Mathematics Teacher Transformation Institute (WI-MTTI), $280,000 from the Illinois State Board of Education (Math-Science Partnership). Co-authored with Sebastian Szyjka, 2012-2013.
- PFD (Percents, Fractions, and Decimals) Boot Camp, Spring 2010-Spring 2011, Hayley Moore, WIU junior. And Spring 2011-Fall 2011, Joe Illichman, WIU junior.
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