MD-DC-VA IBL Consortium

About the COnsortium:

At the 2016 Joint Meetings, some of the organizers of the Upstate New York IBL Consortium gave a talk about their organization and benefits of having a community of IBL practitioners to lean on for resources, mentoring, and support.  In the audience were several members of the MD-DC-VA Section of the MAA.  We decided to start a similar group with the aim of supporting IBL in our MAA Section.

We have run IBL-related events at our Section meetings and have formed an email list (via Google Groups) to announce upcoming events and provide access to our growing community of IBL practitioners.  If you are interested in joining that email list, please go to our Google Group page and join.  (You can join the list without a Google account using whatever email address you like.)

UPCOming events:

  • Spring 2018 MD-DC-VA Section Meeting, Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute on April 13-14, 2018.

    • We are very lucky to have MIchael Starbird, from the University of Texas at Austin visiting us!  He will be giving a workshop on Friday afternoon, titled "Inquiry Based Learning: Math and Beyond."  He will also be giving an invited address on Saturday, titled "Effective thinking through mathematics."

    • IBL Chat (for current users of Inquiry-Based Learning and related pedagogies)  Saturday morning

      How are things going in your classes? What issues are coming up? What successes would you like to share? This session is intended as a chance for us to connect with each other and share ideas.

    • IBL Activity Swap  Saturday morning

      One of the biggest hurdles instructors face when thinking of adopting Inquiry-Based Learning is finding good
      materials. Many instructors end up writing their own. If you've written an activity that you like and are willing to share, we encourage you to bring copies! We will share some of our own favorites, and suggestions for where to find more.

    • Inquiry-Based Learning Q&A (for those new to IBL, or just curious about it)  Saturday afternoon

      How does it work? How do you assign grades? What do you do if...? Bring your questions, and we will have a panel of experienced IBL instructors share their answers.

Past Events:

  • On November 3rd and 4th 2017, the U.S. Naval Academy hosted a workshop on inquiry-based learning in mathematics.  

    The presenters were:

    Mairead Greene (Rockhurst University)

    Christine von Renesse (Westfield State University)

    Workshop website:

    For more information, contact Amy Ksir at

  • Spring 2017 MD-DC-VA Section Meeting, Frostburg State University, April 28-29 2017: 
    Workshop: How to use as much inquiry as you're comfortable with in your calculus class
    (Organizers: Cassie Williams (JMU), Amy Ksir (USNA), and Mitch Keller (Washington & Lee)) 

    Abstract: Using inquiry in the mathematics classroom has gained popularity in recent years, and has been persistently supported by education research. Across the United States, the amount of inquiry being used in calculus courses varies widely, from occasional activities to fully IBL courses. Wherever you currently are on this spectrum, this workshop is designed to help you successfully move up a notch, and incorporate an amount of inquiry that you are comfortable with. In this workshop, we will discuss a variety of ways to effectively include inquiry in any calculus class. Whether you're looking to include occasional activities, regular tasks, or change your entire course structure, we have ideas (and materials) for you!
  • Fall 2016 MD-DC-VA Section Meeting, Johns Hopkins University, Nov 4-5 2016: 
    Themed Contributed Paper Session on IBL in our Section
    (Organizers: Amy Ksir (USNA) and Cassie Williams (JMU)) 

    We are soliciting speakers for a paper session about IBL.  If you're interested in contributing a talk to this session, submit an abstract to the meeting (, and then email the organizers (Amy Ksir - ksir AT usna DOT edu and/or Cassie Williams - willi5cl AT jmu DOT edu) with your title and abstract.  The complete Call for Papers is below.

    **Please note that we will only have room for about seven talks in our session.  If we receive more than seven abstracts, then we will choose a subset of talks which attempts to maximize the variety of IBL topics.  The other abstracts will still be submitted to the conference.**

    Call for Papers: Inquiry in the Classroom in the MD-DC-VA Section
    Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) takes many forms in the classroom.  From occasional activities in a class period to a complete course structure, the unifying theme is to put students in charge of creating mathematics, rather than only consuming it.  This session invites all talks concerning IBL.  In particular, we invite presentations on successful IBL activities, practical implementation issues, inquiry in lower division courses, scholarly research on IBL, or any success story that could help others implement IBL.  We also welcome expository presentations on available resources for teaching through inquiry, tips for those who are new to IBL, or an overview of the research on the effectiveness of IBL.
  • Spring 2016 MD-DC-VA Section Meeting, Montgomery College, April 15-16, 2016:
    Panel Discussion: Inquiry Based Learning in the MD-DC-VA Section
    (Organizers: Amy Ksir (USNA) and Cassie Williams (JMU))

    • Mitch Keller, Washington and Lee University
    • Amy Ksir, US Naval Academy
    • Pádraig McLoughlin, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
    • Cassie Williams, James Madison University

IBL Resources:

IBL Resources:

  • Active Calculus - A free, open source, inquiry-based textbook for Calculus by Matt Boelkins, David Austin, and Steven Schlicker of Grand Valley State University.  Both single variable and multivariable editions are available.