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With guidance from the National Center for Academic Transformation, we started Phase I of our redesigned college algebra course in the fall of 2004 by keeping the same number of lectures as before, but adding a supplemental computer lab. The students did their homework on-line, either from home or on campus. However, one of the difficulties with Phase I was the lack of a central place where we could work with the students. We were limited to 50-minute periods in one of our computer-equipped classrooms. The students often had to leave while they were in the middle of a problem. The instructors and teaching assistants were scattered in various places throughout the day.
Phase II of the redesign began in the fall of 2005, in our newly built Math Technology Learning Center, MTLC. The MTLC was designed to provide the centralized resource/learning location needed to take full advantage of the course redesign. In the MTLC, students can access course material or receive individualized assistance from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. While they can still do their homework from home or any computer lab on campus, most students choose to spend time in the lab where they can get help when they need it.
One of our goals for Phase II was to increase discussion among students. Students tend to be passive recipients of information during lectures, and student-to-student interaction is not easy. We chose to use a replacement model to accomplish this goal. This model includes a reduction in lecture time, replacing it with more individualized time in the lab. The layout of the MTLC encourages student interaction yet provides adequate privacy for quizzes and tests.
Our pass rates in college algebra have steadily increased during all phases of the redesign. In addition, usage of the MTLC has expanded to include students from other math courses. Trigonometry, calculus and statistics students all use the lab to do their on-line homework or to get assistance from instructors and teaching assistants.
The Microsoft PowerPoint presentation about what we have done and some of our results in College Algebra.
For more information about our course redesign, contact Shahla Peterman at email@example.com