Some Highlights (Full CV download available to the right)


Ph.D., Mathematics Education, (2015), Virginia Tech

· Dissertation: Relating Understanding of Inverse and Identity to Engagement in Proof in Abstract Algebra

· Advisor: Dr. Megan Wawro

· Comprehensive Exams: Abstract Algebra and Complex Analysis

M.S., Mathematics, 2011, Virginia Tech

· Thesis: Relationship Between Students' Proof Schemes and Definitions

· Advisor: Dr. Anderson Norton

B.S., Mathematics Education, Auburn University, 2007


Awards and Honors

Best Paper Award (coauthored with Dr. Megan Wawro) – 16th Annual Conference of the Mathematical Association of America’s Special Interest Group for Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education (SIGMAA-RUME)

Research Funding

  • Co-Principal Investigator: National Science Foundation – Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE), Collaborative Research: Extending Inquiry-Oriented Linear Algebra Into New Topics; M. Zandieh (PI), Megan Wawro (co-PI), Christine Andrews-Larson (co-PI), and David Plaxco (co-PI), $599,071, 2019 – 2022. This research collaboration is a continued effort to expand the IOLA curriculum to include additional mathematical topics and extend the project’s reach to more undergraduate instructors.

  • Co-Principal Investigator: National Science Foundation – Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE), Simulation-Based Inquiry-Oriented Linear Algebra; M. Zandieh (PI), David Plaxco (co-PI), and Ashish Amresh (co-PI), $299,999, 2017 – 2020. Responsibilities: Iteratively design, develop and test a game-based applet to support players’ understanding of linear algebra content, including linear independence, span, and basis. Disseminate game to a wider audience and extend the education research community’s understanding of the issues involved in combining curricular design with videogame design.

  • Co-Principal Investigator: Virginia Tech Center for Innovation in Learning, Innovation in Undergraduate Mathematics Education: Supporting Student-Centered Instruction; M. Wawro (PI) and David Plaxco (co-PI), $10,000, 2013 – 2014. Responsibilities: Participated in New Media Seminar that helped inform approaches to web design, reflecting an alternative focus from product-oriented websites to more user-oriented portals

Refereed Publications

  • Stewart, S., Troup, J., and Plaxco, D. (2019). Reflection on teaching linear algebra: Examining one instructor's resources, orientations and goals (ROGs) while moving between the three worlds of mathematical thinking. ZDM Mathematics Education, 1253-1266.

  • Plaxco, D., Zandieh, M., & Wawro, M. (2018). Stretch Directions and Stretch Factors: A Sequence Intended to Support Guided Reinvention of Eigenvector and Eigenvalue. In Challenges and Strategies in Teaching Linear Algebra, 175-192. Springer, Cham. 

  • El Turkey, H., Tang, G., Savic, M., Karakok, G., Cilli-Turner, E., & Plaxco, D. (2018). The Creativity-in-Progress Rubric on Proving: Two Teaching Implementations and Students’ Reported Usage. Primus, 28(1), 57-79.

  • Tang, G., El Turkey, H., Cilli-Turner, E., Savic, M., Karakok, G., & Plaxco, D. (2017). Inquiry as an entry point to equity in the classroom. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 48 (sup1), S4-S15.

  • Plaxco, D., & Wawro, M. (2015). Analyzing student understanding in linear algebra through mathematical activity. The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 38, 87-100.

Articles In-Progress 

  • Plaxco, D. & Milewski, A. Commutators and the Rubik’s cube: A cubing primer for algebraists and an algebra primer for cubers. Targeted journal: College Mathematics Journal.

  • Mauntel, M., Levine, B., Plaxco, D., & Zandieh, M. Get that basket! Deciphering student strategies in the linear algebra game Vector Unknown. Targeted journal: Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education.

  • Zandieh, M., Plaxco, D., Williams-Pierce, C., & Amresh, A. Using three fields of education research to frame the development of digital games. Targeted journal: For the Learning of Mathematics.

  • Plaxco, D. Re-claiming: One way in which conceptual understanding informs proving activity. Targeted journal: Educational Studies in Mathematics.

  • Plaxco, D. & Wawro, M. “Yeah, but what if you didn't have your table?” - A case study of teacher moves and their role in classroom argumentation. Chapter submitted for inclusion in a collection edited by Kosko, K., Staples, M., Conner, A., & Bieda, K.

Research Interests


Proof and argumentation

Abstract Algebra

Linear Algebra





Abstract Algebra (Expert)

Complex Analysis (Expert)

Web design (2 different grants)

Geometer's Sketchpad (over thirteen years' experience)



2010 - present

2010 - present