PEX Quantitative Literacy

GenEd Quantitative Literacy courses present mathematical thinking as a tool for solving everyday problems, and as a way of understanding how to represent aspects of a complexworld.  They are designed to prepare students as citizens and voters to have the ability to think critically about quantitative statements, to recognize when they are misleading or false, and to appreciate how they relate to significant social or political issues. While computation may be part a QL course, the primary focus is not computational skills.

Quantitative Literacy courses are intended to teach students how to:

  • Understand quantitative models that describe real world phenomena and recognize limitations of those models;
  • Perform simple mathematical computations associated with a quantitative model and make conclusions based on the results;
  • Recognize, use, and appreciate mathematical thinking for solving problems that are part of everyday life;
  • Understand the various sources of uncertainty and error in empirical data;
  • Retrieve, organize, and analyze data associated with a quantitative model; and
  • Communicate logical arguments and their conclusions.


Digital Maps: From Mercator to Mashups

From web-based applications like Google Maps, to automobile navigation systems, to satellite pictures of hurricanes, digital maps are widely used to display information about the Earth. This course unmasks the underlying technologies used for computer-based mapping, including Global Positioning Systems (GPS), satellite remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). We will investigate how computers store and analyze digital maps, and see how mapping technologies can be used to address a variety of societal problems, such as analyzing the environmental impacts of urban growth, tracking the spread of a deadly disease, and planning for earthquakes and other natural disasters.