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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Math 100 offered to struggling students

Math is a struggle for many students, and some do not test into university-level math when they start college.

To combat this, the UA has fully implemented a mathematics class that allows students who have not tested into college-level math to take a preparatory course.

Math 100 will allow students to work in an online environment that is self-paced, peer-tutored and interactive while meeting two to three days a week with the math 100 staff.

“”We have a lot of students who don’t place into university-level mathematics when they come in, and we wanted to have a way for them to refresh materials here at the U of A,”” said Michelle Woodward, the math 100 coordinator.

The math 100 course started last summer and hit its stride in the fall 2010, Woodward said. The intent for the upcoming fall semester is to expand the seating from 360 seats to 900 seats.

Completing math within the first year or so of beginning college is an important indicator of whether or not a student will stay in college, she said.

“”If you don’t have a solid algebra foundation, you’re effed,”” said Manny Villegas, a junior studying agricultural and biosystems engineering.

The content of math 100 will be intermediate algebra, which would prepare students for higher-level math courses, Woodward said. Villegas said he has taken math courses such as calculus, linear algebra and analysis math for engineering.

“”It was an uphill battle, but it was worth it,”” he said.

Though Villegas placed into math 122 as a freshman, he said if he didn’t feel prepared at that time, he would have taken the math 100 course. He said he thinks it is a great option for students to have so they don’t have to go to Pima Community College for their math credits.

“”We also want to make sure that people are refreshed on the information before they go into college algebra or (math) 105,”” Woodward said. “”We want to make sure that people are ready.””

The math 100 class is online-based and uses a web-conferencing system called Elluminate, she said. It essentially acts as an online classroom with virtual white boards and virtual chat.

“”I think what’s been really exciting about Elluminate is the opportunity to have it be as much like a real classroom as possible, where we actually talk with people three days a week and we’re engaged with them,”” Woodward said.

The course also uses a tutorial program called ALEKS Learning Mode that allows students to access their online textbook, answer questions and receive feedback, she said.

The class allows students to choose which problems they want to work on, she said. It provides an individual plan of how students work on the material and helps them to be ready for their next course.

“”It frees us up as a staff, as a math 100 team, to be able to really support students individually that have a specific issue and they know where their problem is,”” Woodward said. “”So we don’t have to go over material people already know how to do, we are only going over the things that they’re struggling with.””

Woodward said most online classes generally do not allow for a lot of interaction between teachers and students, unlike math 100 where they meet two to three days every week.

“”What I have found really great is that meeting with students frequently like you would in a regular class is really important, even if you’re online,”” she said.

Woodward said having a general understanding of math is helpful since it is seen in everyday life.

“”I think mathematics allows people the opportunity to be able to think critically and logically about the mathematics itself, but I think that definitely transfers into other fields,”” Woodward said.

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