Saturday, May 10, 2014

Results of the Open Courseware SIGMAA Interest Survey

There were 13 responses to the survey and they break down as follows:

I think it is reasonable to assume that for each response the survey received there is at least one person who would have responded similarly but didn’t, for whatever reason. In that case, it seems to me that there is sufficient interest to take this effort one or two steps further. I will contact the chair of the Committee on SIGMAAs, inquire as to the MAA’s current stance on new SIGMAAs, and report back. That is, I’ll ask whether or not they are encouraging the creation of new SIGMAAs. Also, I'll ask if there are any unwritten expectations, e.g., about the number of charter members. I expect there is a minimum or recommended threshold.

To proceed beyond that point we will need to have some discussion of the specific goals and purpose of the SIGMAA. These would then need to be encoded in a charter. If most of us who are interested in pursuing this are planning to be in Portland for MathFest this August we could possibly get together there/then for an hour or so. If not then possibly at the Joint Meetings in January.

I am biased in favor of meeting in a face-to-face context if consequential decisions are being made, but I recognize that this may just be my own foible. Possibly this could all be done online. In any case, however we hold discussions, there will no doubt be some need for preliminary conversations that can take place by email. So, I would like to ask each of you who said on the survey that you’d be interested in either helping to create an Open Courseware SIGMAA or in joining once it is created (or if you didn’t respond to the survey but are interested) to send me your contact information at: and identify yourselves. I promise not to hound you with emails. I’d just like to have a mechanism whereby those of us who are interested in this can communicate without taking up everyone else’s time. Email seems the simplest way to begin.

Finally, it is still far from clear to me that this is the best way for this community to organize itself, or that there is enough interest at this point for a SIGMAA to be viable. But there is enough interest that I’m willing to go a few more steps in that direction and see how it goes. We shall see.

Eugene Boman
Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics
Penn State, Harrisburg campus

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