Breakout session B: How technology is improving student learning in large enrollment...

Breakout session B
How technology is improving student learning in large enrollment, lower-level mathematics courses

Saturday, November 22, 2003
2:30 - 4:00 pm

Robert F. Olin, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences- University of Alabama
Joe Benson, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences-University of Alabama
Monte Boisen, Chair, Department of Mathematics, University of Idaho

Virginia Tech, the University of Alabama and the University of Idaho have each created Centers for Mathematics Instruction where the primary instructional delivery is via the computer. The session will begin with a brief history of these projects. A movie about an experience in such a center will be shown. Then the presenters and audience will engage in detailed conversations about the primary objectives of the labs. In particular the following questions and topics will be discussed in depth:

  • How to challenge students and assist them to become active student learners?
  • How to provide multiple ways to accommodate student learning?
  • How to provide appropriate and adequate resources for student learning?
  • How to educate faculty that the primary objective is student learning, not teaching?
  • The importance of fostering and maintaining collaborative partnerships.

Participants in the workshop will go over some case studies.

Relevant URL addresses:

Mathematics Technology Learning Center

Virginia Tech Math Emporium

University of Idaho Polya Math Center

In 1999, external reviewers for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) review of the university wrote about the Emporium:

  • (The Math Emporium) illustrates a creative approach to using information technology to solve a serious resource problem, how to manage increased enrollment with no commensurate increase in resources.
  • The projects represents serious, sustained engagement of faculty,
  • It is a powerful example of cross-disciplinary collaboration in providing support for other departments (e.g. modules in engineering mathematics)

The Centers at the University of Idaho and the University of Alabama have transformed how the entry-level math courses are taught and greatly increased the success rate of their students taking those courses. They have also served as springboards to successful outreach initiatives to Idaho and Alabama Middle and High Schools. Both centers have as a primary goal to help each student become an independent, active life-long learner.