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MCL Mathematics Computer Lab Patty Bonesteel Department of Mathematics

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Beginning Algebra Enrollment Increasing MAT 0993, remedial math, is equivalent to 9 th grade algebra. Enrollment up 85% from 4 years ago beginning algebra enrollment was 1,993 students. High schools’ math curriculum not doing its job.

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Placement/Proficiency Exam 4,525 students took the exam for the school year. 2,181(48%) placed into beginning algebra. 1,700 (38%) placed into intermediate algebra. 512 (11%) placed into precalculus. 132 (3%) placed into calculus.

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Previous Format Developmental Math Coordinator hired in Students met with instructor for 2 hours and in computer lab for 2 hours. Changed to lecture/workshop format. Improved success rate.

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Previous Lecture/Workshop Format Worked for several years to improve it. All GTAs were trained. Students were active learners in workshop.

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Problems with Previous Format Still had a high failure/withdrawal rate. Growing enrollment caused: Shortage of classrooms. Shortage of qualified adjuncts. Talking, rudeness, tardiness.

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New Provost Means Changes Math department skeptical. Pilot for winter 2004 – 73 students. Followed University of Alabama Emporium Model.

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New Math Lab is a Go Provost provided anything we needed. Finished just in time for fall 2004 semester. 1,000 students – very hectic.

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Beginning Algebra Data Eight semesters of lecture/workshop. Group final. Uniformly graded. Four semesters in the Math Computer Lab.

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Results

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Attendance Data

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Intermediate Algebra Data Four semesters of lecture. Group final. Uniformly graded. Two semesters in the Math Computer Lab.

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Results

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Marginal Students In intermediate algebra, approximately 15% of the students were in the % range – just missed passing. In the future, we will target these students for early intervention.

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Withdrawal Rate Little change for beginning algebra – many students not ready for college. Psychologically. Financially. Major improvement for intermediate algebra. Most students have already succeeded in previous course. An “I can do!” attitude is present.

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Results After 2 Years of Full Implementation Students come when they are ready to work. No discipline problems. Students do somewhat better in the following course. Cost savings of about $35 per student.

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Results MCL gave us the resources to raise the basic math requirement for general education. MAT 1000, Math in Today’s World, has been added to the curriculum.

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Benefits of the New Lab Multiple resources allow for variation in learning styles. Students more engaged in the math. Get help anytime by “putting up the cup.” Partially self-paced. Students can go as fast as they wish.

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Benefits of the New Lab Cheaper for students—$35 lab fee instead of $ textbook. Standardization of all sections, even off campus. Improves students’ computer skills.

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Benefits of the New Lab More convenient for students. Lab open 79 hours each week. After initial orientation, students come whenever they want, but are required to spend at least 5 hours per week in the lab. Can study from home computer. All WSU library computers, including 24- hour areas, have appropriate software.

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Continually Trying to Improve Changed from S/U to ABC/U to motivate students. Added a notebook requirement. Now require a 60% minimum final exam score to pass (50% for intermediate).

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Hired a New Lecturer Manages our extension site. Offers extra practice sessions with a “real teacher.” Attendance at one or more sessions: 68/1200. Will continue to offer this.

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Student Response to the New Lab Overall – very positive. All like the flexibility it offers. Those who are able to finish the course early love it. The weakest students complain they want a teacher, but don’t come to the extra sessions we offer. Older students with poor computer skills complain.

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Reactions to the New Lab Graduate students like the flexibility of their assignment. Undergraduate students enjoy helping students and at the same time, improving their own math skills. Full time faculty just pleased they don’t have to deal with it.

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Things I Wish I’d Known… YOUR PROGRAM MUST BE ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE. IT’S THE LAW. Required two special computers, $10,000 each. Required training.

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Things I Wish I’d Known… STUDENTS HAVE SHORT ATTENTION SPANS. Keep talking to a minimum at orientation. Give a Syllabus Quiz. Give a CourseCompass Quiz. Require an to the instructor.

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Things I Wish I’d Known… TECHNOLOGY SOMETIMES FAILS. Expect computers to go down occasionally. Put it in your syllabus that they will go down. Have a plan. No deadline extensions unless down for over 30 minutes. Have paper tests available.

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Things I Wish I’d Known… STUDENTS ONLY COME TO THE LAB WHEN THEY HAVE SOMETHING DUE. Spread out the due dates, not just a little, a lot. Provide a row of chairs so students can sit while waiting.

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Things I Wish I’d Known… SOME STUDENTS CHEAT. Have testing procedure in place way ahead of time. Have a separate area or a roped off area for testing. Check picture ID and have students sign in. Be alert for cell phones. Provide and collect scrap paper. Be careful with the testing password.

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Things I Wish I’d Known… STUDENTS OBSESS OVER POINTS. If you’re going to count attendance, have a reliable computer program in place first. Require an average attendance per week not an exact number of hours. Learn to say, “If you get all of your work done and learn the mathematics, the attendance points will take care of themselves.”

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Things I Wish I’d Known… MORE ABOUT STUDENT REGISTRATION. Students could register without ever seeing anything about the required orientation. Student printout did not show when the required orientation was to be held. Make sure advisors are well-informed. Post flyers around campus. Send reminders to students.

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Future Plans Planned expansion—another 50 computers for fall Allows for further growth in enrollment. MAT 1500, Finite Math, in fall Partial use of MCL for Math in Today’s World, Intermediate Algebra with Trig and Precalculus.

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THANK YOU! ANY QUESTIONS???

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