Mr Michael Jennings

Associate Lecturer

Mathematics
Faculty of Science
msj@maths.uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 53255

Overview

I am interested in students' transition from high school to university mathematics, as well as teaching and learning of first-year mathematics.

My main research area is the transition from high school to university mathematics. My 20+ years’ teaching experience on both sides of the secondary-tertiary transitional fence gives me an excellent understanding of students’ knowledge, allowing me to focus my teaching on specific, known problem areas such as algebra, calculus and contextual understanding.

I do not just rely on my background knowledge and communication skills, but also take a scholarly approach to generate new knowledge that informs my teaching. In particular, I have been successful in attracting competitive grant funding for teaching innovations. For example, I have just finished leading an OLT Extension Grant on diagnostic testing. This grant saw the implementation of a unique diagnostic test system, GetSet, in four Australian universities. In 2008 I was part of a team that was awarded a UQ Teaching and Learning Strategic Grant to design the competency test (that is now GetSet) for first-year engineering students to assess knowledge of high school level mathematics, physics, and chemistry, and also the ability of the students to apply this knowledge. I was also a Chief Investigator on a Carrick Grant that developed a powerful and flexible electronic system called SmartAss that creates unlimited questions accompanied by fully worked solutions. This innovative system has been used with great success over a range of mathematics, science and business courses for the past ten years.

I have also led a number of internally funded projects. These projects have developed a comprehensive range of new small-group learning resources for students in core engineering courses to complement a redeveloped student-focused mathematics learning space, an online diagnostic test with automatic correction and feedback to students and staff, numerous study guides for first-year mathematics courses, and a $99,000 Technology Enhanced Learning grant to update and improve SmartAss. All of these teaching innovation grants are aimed at improving students’ mathematical understanding along with their first-year experience.

I am heavily involved in the work of the School’s Teaching and Learning Committee that has been responsible for improving the overall quality of the teaching within the School. I have been actively involved in implementing the measures for teaching quality assessment and students’ learning outcomes which are being implemented into majority of School courses and resulted in a dramatic improvement of course evaluation scores for the School.

I have also been involved in the development and review of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics, and foster links between high school teachers and university lecturers through my role as Executive Committee Member of the Queensland Association of Mathematics Teachers.

In my nearly-completed PhD I am continuing my research on students’ mathematical understanding, which will allow me to further improve my teaching.

Research Interests

  • Transition from secondary to tertiary mathematics

Qualifications

  • Master of Educational Studies in Mathematics, The University of Queensland
  • Graduate Diploma of Education, C.Sturt
  • Bachelor of Arts, The University of Queensland

Publications

  • Jennings, Michael (2014) Declining numbers? Really?. Teaching Mathematics, 39 2: 10-14.

  • Hillock, Poh Wah, Jennings, Michael, Roberts, Anthony and Scharaschkin, Victor (2013) A mathematics support programme for first-year engineering students. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 44 7: 1030-1044. doi:10.1080/0020739X.2013.823251

  • Jennings, Michael and Adams, Peter (2013). Mathematics and the pharmacokinetics of alcohol. In Gloria Ann Stillman, Gabriele Kaiser, Werner Blum and Jill P. Brown (Ed.), Teaching Mathematical Modelling: Connecting to Research and Practice (pp. 597-606) Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-6540-5_51

View all Publications

Publications

Featured Publications

  • Hillock, Poh Wah, Jennings, Michael, Roberts, Anthony and Scharaschkin, Victor (2013) A mathematics support programme for first-year engineering students. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 44 7: 1030-1044. doi:10.1080/0020739X.2013.823251

  • Jennings, Michael and Adams, Peter (2013). Mathematics and the pharmacokinetics of alcohol. In Gloria Ann Stillman, Gabriele Kaiser, Werner Blum and Jill P. Brown (Ed.), Teaching Mathematical Modelling: Connecting to Research and Practice (pp. 597-606) Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-6540-5_51

Book Chapter

  • Jennings, Michael and Adams, Peter (2013). Mathematics and the pharmacokinetics of alcohol. In Gloria Ann Stillman, Gabriele Kaiser, Werner Blum and Jill P. Brown (Ed.), Teaching Mathematical Modelling: Connecting to Research and Practice (pp. 597-606) Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-6540-5_51

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Jennings, Michael (2013). I want to go to uni: should I study one maths subject or two in Years 11 and 12?. In: Sandra Herbert, Julie Tillyer and Toby Spencer, Mathematics: Launching Futures. Proceedings of the 24th Biennial Conference of The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers Inc. AAMT Biennial Conference 2013: Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers Conference 2013, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, (101-106). 10-13 July, 2013.

  • Jennings, Michael, Kavanagh, Lydia, O'Moore, Liza and Haji Lakim, Siti (2012). Mathematical integration throughout the BE: lecturer expectations versus student knowledge. In: Llewellyn Mann and Scott Daniel, AAEE 2012 Conference Proceedings. 23rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Association of Engineering Education (AAEE 2012), Melbourne, Australia, (79-87). 3 - 5 December 2012.

  • Jennings, Michael and Adams, Peter (2011). An open-access online question generator with fully worked solutions. In: Julie Clark, Barry Kissane, Judith Mousley, Toby Spencer and Steve Thornton, Mathematics: Traditions and [New] Practices : Proceedings of the AAMT–MERGA Conference. Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) and the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA) Conference 2011, Alice Springs, NT, Australia, (981-988). 3-7 July 2011.

  • Jennings, Michael (2011). The transition from high school to university: The University of Queensland perspective. In: John Hannah, Mike Thomas and Louise Sheryn, Te Ara Mokoroa: The Long Abiding Path of Knowledge - Proceedings of Volcanic Delta 2011. Volcanic Delta 2011: The Eighth Southern Hemisphere Conference on Teaching and Learning Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics, Rotorua, New Zealand, (139-149). 27 November - 2 December 2011.

  • Jennings, Michael Surman (2009). Issues in bridging between senior secondary and first year university mathematics. In: Roberta Hunter, Brenda Bicknell and Tim Burgess, Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia. MERGA32, Wellington, New Zealand, (273-280). 5-9 July 2009.