Madee Salehi, PhD
In Spring 2013 I taught a 5-week MAT142 class as the second half of a linked MAT121-MAT142. In order to alleviate some of the students’ math anxiety associated with exams and to demonstrate practical applications, I switched from exam-based assessments to project-based assessments with promising results.
MAT 142 focuses on real-world application problems for non-science/engineering students. These students typically do not like math and struggle in understanding the concepts.
I have just finished my first teaching class of MAT082 at EMCC. It was a nice experience for me. But there is one thing I felt like proposing to the structure of the course. I think there should be a midterm at the middle of the semester that covers half the syllabus (at least) and the exam format should be the same as finals. There are couple of positives in this :
1. Students will be introduced with the exam format
2. If the load of chapters are being reduced by half in the final then the students will have better chance to do good in it.
This CATS is to discuss the difference between the final grade results on my traditional calculus I class vs. the one in a learning community with PHY121.
Many people do learning communities (see MAT and CPD LC's) to try improve retention in classes. However, the LC between PHY 121 and MAT 221 has been about trying to improve student understanding of the concepts of physics and calculus and how they fit together. Retention and success in these coures have been fine which is reason for focus on understanding rather than retention. From the attached file it can be seen that on the Force Concept Inventory the LC students did better than traditional class even though they had less math preparation for the course.
I ran MAT142 Online in F13, which is the first time our division has run an online course Of the 31 who started the class, 20 will pass (with 1 depending on the final project score). We had 5 written projects, and at the end of each project, I asked students to do a grade check which required them to give feedback on their progress and the course as a whole. There were 3 common themes that I saw from the responses:
1) Students felt projects did not reflect the learning they'd done in notes and homework.
For many years now, math instructors have made the claim that a students' prior knowledge in algebra impacts their success in calculus. If a student struggles with their algebraic skills, can they still pass calculus? To test this hypothesis, I ran data for 188 students which spans from Fall 2005 to Fall 2013 comparing students' 1st exam scores (review exam of algebra) to their final grade in the course. Correlation using Pearson's r showed a significant, strong positive relationship (r(186) = 0.75, p < .001).
In Fall 2013, I taught two calculus courses. One of them is linked with Physics (a learning community) and another one is in the traditional format. In the traditional format, calculus is a prerequisite for PHY121. With the learning community, students are able to take both MAT220 and PHY121 in the same semester. The learning community students have the advantage of seeing the applications of calculus in the same semester while the traditional students will see the applications a semester later.