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Online Course in Applied Calculus Will Focus on “Real World” Problems and Data

Published: April 7, 2016

Students can take an online course in applied calculus this summer that is designed to provide the high level of student-faculty interaction they are accustomed to in courses on their ACM campuses.

This is the fourth year that ACM will offer Calculus: A Modeling Approach, an online course for students majoring in the social sciences and natural sciences — such as economics, biology, environmental science, and psychology—who want to learn more about using quantitative methods to solve problems in their disciplines.

Mary Armon

Mary Armon

Knox College mathematics professors Mary Armon and Andrew Leahy will teach the course, which runs from June 8 through August 3. The course is open only to students at ACM colleges and enrollment is capped at 20 students to keep the class small and participatory. Students who successfully complete the course receive academic credit from their home college.

Andrew Leahy

Andrew Leahy

The course is structured to encourage participation, with an online forum where students can post questions to each other and the faculty. Students also interact directly with faculty during weekly videoconference tutorials.

Content for the course includes a large dose of "real world" problems and data drawn from a variety of disciplines. The mathematical topics covered include functions, dimensional analysis and estimation, curve fitting, differential and integral calculus, optimization, and differential equations — all within the framework of mathematical modeling and computing.

May 16 is the application deadline. Details and an online application are at

Calculus: A Modeling Approach was developed and first taught in 2013 by mathematics professors Chad Topaz from Macalester College and Kristina Garrett from St. Olaf College. The effort was supported by the ACM Online Learning Project, an initiative to investigate ways that online learning might be used to enhance the educational mission of small, residential liberal arts colleges.


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