Case Studies

Case Studies Overview

Detailed case studies were conducted in two mathematics departments (one in Canada and one in the United Kingdom), both of which were selected on the basis of perceived sustained development of instructional technology integration over time. Interviews with various stakeholders within each of these departments were conducted in 2009, observations of classes were made, and artefacts were collected relating to the programs and their respective histories. Data analysis is presently underway with results/recommendations via publications/presentations to follow.

Related Publications

Jarvis, D. H., Lavicza, Z., & Buteau, C. (2014, December). Systemic shifts in instructional technology: Findings of a comparative case study of two university mathematics departments. International Journal for Technology in Mathematics Education, 21(4), 117-142.

Abstract: This paper reports on the findings of an international multi-site case study in which researchers examined two mathematics departments in Canada and the United Kingdom in which the sustained use of technology was strategically established in a mathematics degree program. This case study forms part of a larger study entitled, “Computer Algebra Systems (CAS) in University Instruction: An International Research Study on CAS Usage and Sustainability” (Buteau, Jarvis, & Lavicza), which also involved an extensive literature review and a national survey of Canadian Mathematicians. Findings from the case study indicate that sustained implementation at the departmental level requires a unique combination of key factors and strategies such as: a dedicated core group led by a committed advocate in a position of influence/power (e.g., Head/Chair); a strong and shared incentive for change; strategic hiring processes; an administration which supports creative pedagogical reform and well-considered risk-taking; and, a continuous and determined revisiting of the original vision and purpose. Significant challenges to implementation and maintenance, with specific examples, are also discussed.

Challis, N., Jarvis, D. H., Lavicza, Z., & Monaghan, J. (2011). Software used in a mathematics degree. In Proceedings of the 35th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME). Ankara, Turkey.

Abstract: This paper examines the software used by staff and students in an undergraduate mathematics degree. The theoretical framework is activity theory. Of software used Excel has a privileged position. We argue that spreadsheet use ‘fits’ with the objective of the activity and an important rule of the mathematical community and that multiple agents contributed to the privileged use of Excel.