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 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 internationally renowned GetSet formative feedback system and 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 am 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 and a member of the UQ College of Peer Observers.

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

Research Interests

  • Transition from secondary to tertiary mathematics
  • Teacher and lecturer perspectives

Research Impacts

Teacher Magazine Podcaster, Qld Core Skills Test Auditor

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

  • 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.

  • 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. 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

View all Publications

Available Projects

View all Available Projects

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. 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

Book Chapter

  • 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

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

  • 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.

  • 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.

Possible Research Projects

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.