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Positive outcomes from Transforming Course Design at CSU Northridge

Posted by: tcarey
Date: 2/15/2008 1:14 pm
Views: 34733

One month into the new term, I have good news:  The hybrid math 103L's are a hit.  We have 4 GA's running 14 sections of the lab covering the 11 sections of math 103 (two are large with 100-120 students).  Students who do not pass the MPT are required to take the lab.  The in-class portion meets for one hour each week and the students work in groups on a prescribed list of practice problems.  These problems were taken from a long list of exam problems compiled last term.  The students are facilitated in their group work by their GA and by one undergraduate student.  The undergrad lab assistants (paid for this term by our Provost) are business majors who did exceptionally well on the math 103 final last term.  These student assistants are much more helpful than I had expected and the students love them.  The attitude in the lab is very positive.

In addition to the GA and the undergraduate assistant, each lab section has been "adopted" by a math 103 instructor.  The instructors hold one of their office hours in the lab.  Thus on most days there are 3 people on hand to help out the 35 or so students in the in-class meeting of the lab.  Moreover, having the instructors visit the labs has the added affect of raising the "stature" of the lab in the eyes of the students.  Instead of seeing the lab a some peripheral part of 103, they see it as an integral part of the course.  The same is true of the attitudes of the instructors.  They now see the lab a part of their instructional resources.

The online part of the class, is the same technology as last term, Aleks.  But, this term the students are much more on top of things because they SEE their GA each week in class.  Also we made a much bigger effort in our lectures and in the labs to explain the connections between the online "review" material of Aleks and the 103 material.

Finally the other big improvement was in the homework.  We used other money from the Provost to program into our online homework (webwork) for math 103 (not 103L) the practice exam problems.  Now, students see an example in lecture, do an example as group work in lab, and do an example in homework, independently.  Thus by the time the exams roll around things should be familiar.  At least in my class the exam scores on the first exam (yesterday) were quite good. Smile


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