JACKIE NICHOLAS

Senior Lecturer and Head, Mathematics Learning Centre


I joined the staff of the Mathematics Learning Centre in 1989, and was appointed to head the Centre in 1991. I teach students enrolled in a wide range of units of study in mathematics and statistics, but I specialise in teaching calculus to students who have not studied calculus before, business and economic statistics and biostatistics.

My research investigates how mathematics and statistics is learned at university level.

Selected Publications and Scholarly Work

Recent refereed publications

  • Poladian, L. & Nicholas, J. (2013). Mathematics bridging courses and success in first year calculus. Proceedings of the 9th Delta Conference on the Teaching and Learning of Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics, (pp. 150-159), 24-29 November, Kiama, Australia.
  • Gordon, S. & Nicholas, J. (2013). Prior decisions and experiences about mathematics of students in bridging courses. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 44 (7) 1081-1091. Online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0020739X.2013.823249
  • Gordon, S. & Nicholas, J. (2013). Students' conceptions of mathematics bridging courses. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 37(1), 109-125. Online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2011.644779
  • Gordon, S. & Nicholas, J. (2012). Measuring the impact of early mathematics support for students enrolled in an introductory calculus unit of study. In M. Sharma & A. Young (Eds.) Proceedings of the Australian Conference on Science & Mathematics Education (18th Annual UniServe Science Conference - Teaching and Learning Standards: What does a standard mean to you) (pp 99-104), University of Sydney, 26 Sept to 28 Sept 2012.
  • Gordon, S. & Nicholas, J. (2011). Challenges and responses: lessons from students in mathematics bridging courses. Proceedings of the 8th Delta Conference on the Teaching and Learning of Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics (pp 111-119), 27 November – 2 December, Rotorua, New Zealand.
  • Gordon, S. & Nicholas, J. (2010). Teachers' reflections on the challenges of teaching mathematics bridging courses. In M. D. Sharma (Ed.) Proceedings of the 16th UniServe Science Annual Conference - Creating ACTIVE Minds in our Science and Mathematics Students (pp 35-40), University of Sydney, 29 Sept to 1 Oct 2010. Online at http://escholarship.library.usyd.edu.au/journals/index.php/IISME/article/viewFile/4671/5471
  • Gordon, S. & Nicholas, J. (2010). Teaching with examples and statistical literacy: views from teachers in statistics service courses. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 18(1), 14-25. Online at http://escholarship.library.usyd.edu.au/journals/index.php/CAL/article/viewFile/3527/5424
  • Gordon, S. & Nicholas, J. (2009). Using examples to promote statistical literacy. In A. Hugman (Ed.), Uniserve Science - Motivating Science Undergraduates: Ideas and interventions (pp. 58–64). The University of Sydney, 1-2 October.
  • Gordon, S. & Nicholas, J. (2008). Why do statistics educators use examples to teach statistics? In MacGillivray, H. (Ed.), Proceedings of the 6th Australian Conference on Teaching Statistics (OZCOTS, 2008) (pp 97-103), Melbourne: OZCOTS.

Other journal articles

  • Cooper, I., Frommer, M., Gordon, S. & Nicholas, J. (2002). University teachers’ conceptions of memorising in learning science. Higher Education Research & Development, 21 (3), 305-321.
  • Crawford, K., Gordon, S., Nicholas, J. & Prosser, M. (1998). University mathematics students’ conceptions of mathematics. Studies in Higher Education, 23(1), 87-94.
  • Crawford, K., Gordon, S., Nicholas, J. & Prosser, M. (1998). Qualitatively different experiences of learning mathematics at university. Learning and Instruction, 8(5), 455-468.
  • Crawford, K., Gordon, S., Nicholas, J. & Prosser, M. (1994). Conceptions of mathematics and how it is learned: The perspectives of students entering university, Learning and Instruction, 4, 331-345.
  • Nicholas, S. & Nicholas, J. (1992). Male literacy, “deskilling,” and the industrial revolution. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 13 (1), 1-18.

Other refereed conference proceedings

  • Cooper, I., Frommer, M., Gordon S. & Nicholas, J. (2001). University teachers’ perceptions of the role of memorising in learning science. In Schuck, S. & Segal, G. (Eds.) Proceedings of the Change in Education Research Group (CERG) Conference: Is Education Y2K Compliant? Sydney: University of Technology, Sydney.
  • Crawford, K., Gordon, S., Nicholas, J. & Prosser, M. (1995). Patterns of meaning of students’ mathematical experiences at university. In B. Atweh & S. Flavel (Eds.), Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, (pp. 203-209). Darwin: Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia.
  • Crawford, K., Gordon, S., Nicholas, J. & Prosser, M. (1994). Students’ reports of their learning about functions. In J. da Pont & J. Matos (Eds.), Proceedings of the Eighteenth Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, (Vol. 2, pp. 233-239). Lisbon: University of Lisbon.
  • Crawford, K., Gordon, S., Nicholas, J., & Prosser, M. (1993). Learning mathematics at university level: Initial conceptions of mathematics. In B. Atweh, C. Kanes, M. Carss, & G. Booker (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Mathematical Education Research Group of Australasia, (pp. 209-214). Brisbane: Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia.
  • Gordon, S. & Nicholas, J. (2005). Three case studies on the role of memorising in learning and teaching mathematics. In Chick, H. L. & Vincent, J. L. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 29th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol. 3, pp 57-64. Melbourne: PME.
  • Gordon, S., Nicholas, J., & Crawford, K. (1996). Psychology students’ conceptions of a statistics course. In L. Puig & A. Gutiérrez (Eds.), Proceedings of the 20th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, (Vol. 3, pp. 11-18). Valencia: Universitat de Valencia.

Other conference presentations

  • Nicholas J (2007). The Mathematics Learning Centre at the University of Sydney: Issues, successes and failures. Paper presented at the Carrick Symposium on Learning Support in Mathematics and Statistics, Brisbane, Australia, July 2007.
  • Gordon, S. & Nicholas, J. (2002). Phenomenography and Activity Theory: Do they fit? Paper presented at the tenth annual symposium: Contemporary Approaches to Research in Mathematics, Science, Health and Environmental Education, Deakin University, Victoria, December 2002.
  • Cooper, I., Frommer, M., Gordon S. & Nicholas, J. (2001). University teachers’ perceptions of the role of memorising in learning science. In Schuck, S. & Segal, G. (Eds.) Proceedings of the Change in Education Research Group (CERG) Conference: Is Education Y2K Compliant? Sydney: University of Technology, Sydney.