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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 1 Using WebCT as a tool for Mathematical Discussion Peggy Gregory Janet Read Stewart Eyres UCLAN, Lancashire

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 2 Presentation Introduction to the Authors Background to the Institution Background to the Department Background to the Module Solutions using Web CT Other observations

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 3 The Authors Peggy Gregory Janet Read Stewart Eyres

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 4 Previous work Gregory and Read –Positive Perspectives, using Web Page Development to Change Student Attitudes to Learning Maths, CAL 2001 Read and Gregory –Using GroupWise to Stimulate Academic Discussion with Computing Students, LTSN- ICS 2001

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 5 The Institution University of Central Lancashire –Preston –Lancashire –Adopted Web CT in 2000

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 6 Strategic Plan 2001/2002Training and live web spaces 2002/2003Implementation 2003/2004Wider implementation 2004/2005Web-based support for all courses

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 7 Progress to date Two new servers installed Module space created for the 4000 modules Training space available on request Templates created for each faculty

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 8 5 Stages Admin only1 Dept Supplemental 2 Depts Essential 0 Depts Communal2/3 Depts Immersive1/0 Depts

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 9 The Situation in Computing Situation –Large tutorial classes –Used to Web-linked course materials –6 modules in first year –Only one module using WebCT Over to Peggy……………

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 10 Teaching Maths to Computing Students Students have mixed mathematical ability and interest - we need to motivate them Some think maths is ‘not relevant’ Studies show that improving maths helps other areas of the computing curriculum (Allen 1995, Leman 1998) Problem solving module - taught to all 1st year students

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 11

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 12 Teaching Problem Solving HND module - taught at University and at 6 colleges over Lancashire Each lecturer follows syllabus but develops own material Students don’t normally have any communication with each other Lecturers have minimal contact with each other during teaching year

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 13 Aim of WebCT Project Find ways of engaging students in the learning process Assess the efficacy of different approaches Develop a learning community which would include university and college students and staff Develop more web-based mathematical material

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 14 Material Currently on the Site Module Handbook Course Teaching Timetable Course Notes (University students only) Discussion groups Chat Rooms Tests

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 15 Approaches to combining WebCT with class contact Dispersed group - but all have class contact Strategies used: –Practical classes are set aside for web work –Maths problem of the week - gets some class time, the rest is outside class –Course notes go up on the site a couple of days in advance of classes –WebCT site becomes the repository for all the course material

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 16 Problem-centred exercises Discussion lists: –Grouped discussion lists –Maths problem of the week –Open discussion lists Student-built web pages Quizzes

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 17 Mathematical Conversations Constructivist approach –Students need to build their own internal model, therefore they have to reflect on the material –Discussion lists give an opportunity for students to engage in reflective dialogue –Web page development work is based on class work, but involves more creative thought from the students

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 18 The Hooks The bribe A need for help Necessity Testing skills Gaining skills

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 19 The Hooks The bribe A need for help Necessity Testing skills Gaining skills A prize for problem of the week

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 20 The Hooks The bribe A need for help Necessity Testing skills Gaining skills Providing help through discussion lists

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 21 The Hooks The bribe A need for help Necessity Testing skills Gaining skills Lecture timetable and notes

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 22 The Hooks The bribe A need for help Necessity Testing skills Gaining skills Quizzes and Tests

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 23 The Hooks The bribe A need for help Necessity Testing skills Gaining skills Learning how to build web sites

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 24 Maths Problem of the Week Generated the most postings and interest 37% of the students have posted to the maths problem list Appears to be a particular group of students, but not just students who are good at maths (possibly to do with learning styles) 20% of the students have lurked but not posted

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 25

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 26 Postings to Maths Problem of the Week No. of No. of Discursive Maths Postings Students Postings Notation Q19444%67% Q234149%3% Q331932%68% Q48525%13%

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 27 Use of Mathematical Notation Has not been a problem so far: –Work has not been too complex –Students are used to writing programs where keystrokes replace mathematical notation for instance 2 * 6 for 2 or 2 ^ 6 for 2 6 There has been some interesting notation – i.e. 4877929688 ---------- 11562500000 meaning

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 28 Open Discussions More open discussion in defined sub-groups than on the main discussion list Students need motivation to initiate discussions Students want to use the chat facility more Monitored chat group use has not included any mathematical conversations

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 29 Web Page Development Students work individually or in groups For their chosen topic: –work through tutorial sheets –identify common mistakes –analyse why mistakes were made –advise how to avoid mistakes Build a web page to explain an area of foundation maths

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1 Experiencing Immersing yourself in the task 2 Reflection What did you notice? 3 Conceptualisation What does it mean? 4 Planning What do you want to change? Work through maths examples Identify common problems Investigate the problems Develop a web page to give general advice Student’s Learning Cycle Kolb’s Learning Cycle

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 32 Website Feedback So far this year only informal feedback Some students have built good sites A number of students have found the exercise hard Requires a lot of self-motivation - a number of students have been using the WebCT environment instead of building web sites

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 33 Conclusions Use of WebCT has improved communication between students Certain aspects have been successful - problem of the week, quizzes Limited time that students will log on for Need to produce focussed material Need to continue to work on getting the college students involved

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AJGregory, JCRead - University of Central Lancashire 34 Thank You Peggy Gregory (AJGregory@uclan.ac.uk)AJGregory@uclan.ac.uk Janet Read (JCRead@uclan.ac.uk)

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