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Nikolay Brodskiy, a professor in mathematics, wasn’t satisfied with typical calculus textbooks so he came up with a big idea: create a website with more complete information to help students better understand the subject.

“When I try to learn something myself,” he said, “I keep asking ‘why’ questions. Why is this important? Why is it done this way?”

Unsatisfied with the textbooks he’d found, Brodskiy began to write his own explanations and answers. He put them on a website to share with students and then added notes and videos from his lectures with interactive demonstrations of concepts.

“The main idea here is to create a place online where teaching and learning materials are collected, and they can be organized and viewed in different ways,” he said.

Brodskiy uses the website in his classes to fuel discussion. He hopes it will allow students to see several different explanations of an idea or problem and then talk about it with others. Teachers also can to come to the site to learn different ways of teaching calculus.

Brodskiy’s website is publicly available, and he said that people from more than fifty different countries have visited it. Visit the site here.

“I consider my work on the calculus course as part of a much bigger project to build a portal of teaching and learning materials,” he said.

For his efforts, Brodskiy won a Creative Teaching Grant from the Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center. The grant rewards instructors who change their classes in an innovative way and provides $5,000 to help the instructors implement their ideas.