Developmental Math Department getting a face lift.
In the spring semester of 2012, students enrolled in Math 100 and Math 110 will be the first Liberty learners to go through a new system of learning. Called the Math Emporium, this innovative way of learning was originated by the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT).
NCAT, according to Dr. Kathy Spradlin, coordinator of developmental math at Liberty University, helps schools and universities redesign their current courses to increase the pass rates of students, use technology and to save a bit of money while doing it all.
“Nationally, there’s a concern that more students aren’t passing classes the first time they take them,” Spradlin said.
The Math Emporium, according to Spradlin, is going to help students pass their 100 and 110 level math classes the first time they take them.
An article in Change Magazine recently boasted about the success rates that the redesigns of math courses at other universities have had. According to the article, on average, there has been a 25 percent increase in the amount of students successfully completing a college-level math course. The developmental math department at Liberty, according to Spradlin, is hoping this success continues to her department.
“For years we have looked for ways to help students learn the math and pass their courses,” Spradlin said.
The developmental math’s website, www.liberty.edu/dvma, states that these courses have been redesigned so that students are only required to attend one weekly class meeting in which the instructor will provide techniques for students to succeed and learn in their new environment. In addition to the required class meeting, students will then be required to work in the Math Emporium for at least three hours per week.
Construction, according to Spradlin, began Nov. 1 and is scheduled to end Jan. 1, 2012. The Math Emporium will be located at Green Hall 1500 and will have 252 computers arranged in rows, a conference room for group presentations and work rooms for faculty and students to interact in “small group settings,” according to the developmental math website.
Students, Spradlin said, have the chance to work through their math lessons at their own pace. While there is a schedule, students are allowed to work ahead and finish the course before the semester is over.
“What happens is maybe the student will get three or four weeks done for Math 100 and the next semester they’ll register for Math 110. We’ll take all the passing grades of the last semester … so they don’t have to start over again,” Spradlin said.
The most important aspect of the new design in the developmental math department, according to their website, NCAT’s website and Spradlin, is that students will be doing the math instead of watching someone else do it.
“We’ll have some problem solving activities that they’ll do in small groups … so they can apply the skills to real life expectations and hopefully be motivated,” Spradlin said.
In the fall semester of 2012, Math 115, 121 and 201 will be designed and also included in the Math Emporium in order to help increase student learning on campus.
“It’s important for the students and their parents to know that we’re going to do math in a new way,” Spradlin said.