I am interested in students' transition from high school to university mathematics, as well as the teaching and learning of first-year mathematics.
My main research area is the transition from high school to university mathematics. My 25+ years’ teaching experience on both sides of the secondary-tertiary transitional fence gives me an excellent understanding of student 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. I use technology such as UniDoodle to gather data and then design innovative resources that support diverse student cohorts, including the SmartAss self-testing system. In 2015 I was awarded an OLT Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2010 I was awarded an ALTC Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.
I have been successful in attracting competitive grant funding for teaching innovations. For example, I led 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 15 years. The system is also used in high schools.
I have also led numerous 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 have been heavily involved in the work of the School’s Teaching and Learning Committee that has been responsible for improving the overall quality of teaching within the School. I mentor new staff, providing advice on teaching and assessment design.
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 and Treasurer of the Queensland Association of Mathematics Teachers.
I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the UQ College of Peer Observers, and one of three members of the First Year in Maths National Steering Committee.
In my PhD I continued my research on subject selection and students’ mathematical understanding, which has allowed me to further improve my teaching.
Teacher Magazine Podcaster, Qld Core Skills Test Auditor
Journal Article: Advanced mathematics enrolment numbers: a crisis or fake news?
Jennings, Michael (2022). Advanced mathematics enrolment numbers: a crisis or fake news?. Australian Mathematics Education Journal, 4 (1), 33-45.
Journal Article: A mathematics support programme for first-year engineering students
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
Book Chapter: Mathematics and the pharmacokinetics of alcohol
Jennings, Michael and Adams, Peter (2013). Mathematics and the pharmacokinetics of alcohol. Teaching Mathematical Modelling: Connecting to Research and Practice. (pp. 597-606) edited by Gloria Ann Stillman, Gabriele Kaiser, Werner Blum and Jill P. Brown. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-6540-5_51
Award for Teaching Excellence (ATE) - Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT)
(2015–2018) AAUT Award for Teaching Excellence
(2014–2015) OLT Extension Grants
Step up! Transforming mathematics and science pre-service secondary teacher education in Queensland
(2014–2015)
Transition from high school to university mathematics
Analysis of mathematics exams
Advanced mathematics enrolment numbers: a crisis or fake news?
Jennings, Michael (2022). Advanced mathematics enrolment numbers: a crisis or fake news?. Australian Mathematics Education Journal, 4 (1), 33-45.
A mathematics support programme for first-year engineering students
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
Mathematics and the pharmacokinetics of alcohol
Jennings, Michael and Adams, Peter (2013). Mathematics and the pharmacokinetics of alcohol. Teaching Mathematical Modelling: Connecting to Research and Practice. (pp. 597-606) edited by Gloria Ann Stillman, Gabriele Kaiser, Werner Blum and Jill P. Brown. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-6540-5_51
Mathematics and the pharmacokinetics of alcohol
Jennings, Michael and Adams, Peter (2013). Mathematics and the pharmacokinetics of alcohol. Teaching Mathematical Modelling: Connecting to Research and Practice. (pp. 597-606) edited by Gloria Ann Stillman, Gabriele Kaiser, Werner Blum and Jill P. Brown. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-6540-5_51
Greenwood, Ava and Jennings, Michael (2023). How not to paint a fence. Australian Mathematics Education Journal, 5 (2), 14-20.
Advanced mathematics enrolment numbers: a crisis or fake news?
Jennings, Michael (2022). Advanced mathematics enrolment numbers: a crisis or fake news?. Australian Mathematics Education Journal, 4 (1), 33-45.
An evaluation of UniDoodle: a highly effective student response system for the STEM disciplines
McLoone, Seamus, Kelly, Christine and Jennings, Michael (2019). An evaluation of UniDoodle: a highly effective student response system for the STEM disciplines. AISHE - J, 11 (1)
Jennings, Michael (2014). Declining numbers? Really?. Teaching Mathematics, 39 (2), 10-14.
A mathematics support programme for first-year engineering students
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
A contextualised calculus unit for science students
King, Deborah, Greenwood, Ava and Jennings, Michael (2023). A contextualised calculus unit for science students. The Learning and Teaching of Calculus Across Disciplines, Bergen, Norway, 5-9 June 2023. Kristiansand, Norway: MatRIC.
Perception of work environment and teaching preparedness amongst mathematics tutors
Greenwood, Ava and Jennings, Michael (2020). Perception of work environment and teaching preparedness amongst mathematics tutors. The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Online, 30 September - 2 October 2020. Sydney, NSW, Australia: University of Sydney.
Issues in the transition from secondary tertiary mathematics
Jennings, Michael, Goos, Merrilyn and Adams, Peter (2017). Issues in the transition from secondary tertiary mathematics. International Congress on Mathematical Education, Hamburg, Germany, 24 - 31 July 2016.
I want to go to uni: should I study one maths subject or two in Years 11 and 12?
Jennings, Michael (2013). I want to go to uni: should I study one maths subject or two in Years 11 and 12?. AAMT Biennial Conference 2013: Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers Conference 2013, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 10-13 July, 2013. Adelaide, SA, Australia: The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT).
Mathematical integration throughout the BE: lecturer expectations versus student knowledge
Jennings, Michael, Kavanagh, Lydia, O'Moore, Liza and Haji Lakim, Siti (2012). Mathematical integration throughout the BE: lecturer expectations versus student knowledge. 23rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Association of Engineering Education (AAEE 2012), Melbourne, Australia, 3 - 5 December 2012. Melbourne, Australia: Swinburne University of Technology.
An open-access online question generator with fully worked solutions
Jennings, Michael and Adams, Peter (2011). An open-access online question generator with fully worked solutions. Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) and the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA) Conference 2011, Alice Springs, NT, Australia, 3-7 July 2011. Adelaide, SA, Australia: AAMT and MERGA.
The transition from high school to university: The University of Queensland perspective
Jennings, Michael (2011). The transition from high school to university: The University of Queensland perspective. Volcanic Delta 2011: The Eighth Southern Hemisphere Conference on Teaching and Learning Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics, Rotorua, New Zealand, 27 November - 2 December 2011. Christchurch; Auckland, New Zealand: University of Canterbury and The University of Auckland.
Issues in bridging between senior secondary and first year university mathematics
Jennings, Michael Surman (2009). Issues in bridging between senior secondary and first year university mathematics. MERGA32, Wellington, New Zealand, 5-9 July 2009. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, Inc.
Jennings, Michael Surman (2023). Issues in the transition from secondary school to university mathematics: student, teacher, and lecturer perspectives. PhD Thesis, School of Education, The University of Queensland. doi: 10.14264/a3d9362
A mathematics support program for first year engineering students
Hillock, Poh Wah, Roberts, Anthony, Grotowski, Joseph, Jennings, Michael, Kavanagh, Lydia and Scharschkin, Victor (2013). A mathematics support program for first year engineering students. Brisbane, QLD Australia: School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland.
Developing a profile of student performance in large classes
Hillock, Poh Wah, Roberts, Anthony, Grotowski, Joseph, Jennings, Michael and Scharaschkin, Victor (2012). Developing a profile of student performance in large classes. Brisbane, QLD Australia: School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland.
Award for Teaching Excellence (ATE) - Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT)
(2015–2018) AAUT Award for Teaching Excellence
(2014–2015) OLT Extension Grants
Step up! Transforming mathematics and science pre-service secondary teacher education in Queensland
(2014–2015)
A new enabling technology for learning and teaching quantitative skills
(2006–2008) Carrick Competitive Grants
Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.
Transition from high school to university mathematics
Analysis of mathematics exams