Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fundamental Math Courses Available On CourseCampus~by Frankie Love 2/8/2011

by Frankie Love
     While WVU Parkersburg is no stranger to ha ving online and computer-based classes, one department at the college is just now venturing into cyberspace.
This semester marks a change for the two fundamental math classes the college has to offer, by having students trade in their book for a pass code that will let them access their work and complete it at their own pace.
      After low success rates of only 33 percent in Math 011 and 021, the college decided that it was time to make a change.  Math Department Coordinator Al Edwards and a team comprised of Mike Styrt, Tom Riddle and Chris Cunningham decided it was time to make a change in the way the courses are taught. The team of advisors sought help in a Peirce Publishing program that was overall cheaper than the traditional book, called Course Campus.
     They were able to purchase the package after the team had applied and eventually won a grant for $40,000 last year “I’m excited,” said Edwards.  “I believe that this program has the potential to help students pick up the fundamental skills we teach in the 011 and 021 courses quicker by letting them not only have an extra instructor in the class with them, but also so they can have an instructor on screen to help them at their homes.”
      While the two courses are completely computer based, students are still required to come to class.  Attendance is still a part of the overall grade in the courses. “We expect you to show up so that we still know that students are completing their work and also we like to be there so that if the students get stuck they can have a warm body to help them,” said Edwards.
This change will mark the first of many. The department plans to add more classes online and will create their own instructional videos to help make students more comfortable.
     “I think it’s great” remarked student, Rhonda Taylor.  “I think it helps us actually take in the information by letting us learn on our pace and at home.”
Many students who are in the new 011 and 021 classes have said they like the new design and feel that they are still getting their tuition’s worth. However, anyone who was skeptical had the chance to still take their fundamental course the traditional way this semester until the two classes, and maybe more, are completely digitalized by this fall.
            “We are not trying to make it harder, but trying to make it better and easier on you. Now I could lecture a class, I love to lecture,” said Edwards.  “Unfortunately most students just don’t like it that way anymore.  So, we are trying to accommodate them by making them as successful as the can be in their math classes and ultimately realize their dream of getting a college education.”

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