ORU Professor Incorporates Coronavirus Data Into Lesson Plan

Tuesday, April 7th 2020, 1:59 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero

Professors at Oral Robert University are using the coronavirus pandemic to enhance their lessons.

"Often math professors here tell students they will never use this math in real life - well you are using it in real life,” said Dr. Andrew Lang, who's taught math at ORU for over two decades. 

Lang said he's teaching lessons through Zoom and had the idea to use the coronavirus as the course's theme.

“Now you’re looking at those curves and they show up on the news all the time. That is math right there," said Lang.

Lang said the students have to produce equations that create curves and trends. He says many of the same types of curves are shared on the news daily.

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“That inspired me to use this as a learning opportunity for my differential equation students. They not only look and understand the curve but can dig deep and look at the math underneath at curve,” Lang explained.

McKenzie Edwards is taking Dr. Lang's course all the way from her home in Anchorage, Alaska. She said the real-life example helps her grasp the concepts.

"I want to become a biomedical engineer, so the global thinking is a big part of it. I’m excited because this is a lot more closely related to my field of study than it originally was," Edwards said.

Edwards said she does a lot of research that has helped her not only learn math but about the world. 

"I really appreciate them understanding the world we are living in, especially something that is changing our generation and will change the world," Edwards said.

Dr. Lang said other professors are also integrating the pandemic into their lessons. He said a biology professor started a new course in “virology” and another professor is teaching disaster response to the pandemic.

Lang tells me he is even looking into trying to submit the research from this semester to the CDC to help track supply shortages and even help create a vaccine.