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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Incoming students get math preparation

"Nineteen incoming students got a taste of the Yale experience online this summer, working with a professor and a team of student coaches in order to better prepare themselves for the college’s infamous quantitative reasoning requirement." according to Tyler Foggatt, Staff Reporter. 
 

Photo: Yale Daily News

The program, Online Experiences for Yale Scholars, is one of the measures Yale has taken as part of a series of recent commitments Yale made to the White House. At a conference for higher education held in Washington D.C. in January, which included over a hundred participating institutions, the University made a five-part pledge to continue aiding high-achieving, low-income students. For this summer’s pilot edition of ONEXYS, a small group of students was selected by the Admissions Office to follow online lectures, interact with tutors via Skype and complete web quizzes
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Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan said ONEXYS was a way for the University to reach out to students hindered by limited resources, particularly those with weak math backgrounds, and ensure that they have the opportunity to succeed in math courses or pursue STEM majors.

“Yale offers a challenging set of freshman classes in the sciences, and we have a requirement that all students take QR courses, so we really wanted to make sure kids were off to the right footing,” Quinlan said. “It’s important to level that playing field for students when they get here.”

Edward O’Neill, senior instructional designer of academic IT solutions, said ONEXYS helps dispel the myth that certain students are locked out of STEM majors due to a lack of math preparation.

ONEXYS, Quinlan said, is the online counterpart to Freshman Scholars at Yale — a program that allows incoming students to study on campus for five weeks during the summer. While FSY is an attractive program to incoming students, he added, it can only be offered to a limited number of people. In addition, many incoming freshmen find themselves unable to spend their summer at Yale.

O’Neill said that ONEXYS is the ideal way to extend the Yale experience to a group of students from as far as 2,000 miles away, while eliminating the costs and challenges of bringing them to campus.

“People work over the summer because they need to earn money to get ready for the fall,” O’Neill said. “[The program] offers convenience, allows the students to still work and becomes more like a toe dip. You’re not completely immersed in the environment, but you’re moving towards it slowly.”

Math professor James Rolf, who spearheaded ONEXYS, said that a way to measure the success of the program would be to evaluate the number of students who participate, set out to enter STEM majors and stick with the major . But access to such data will not be available for another few years. However, Rolf said two of the nineteen did not finish the program.
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Source: Yale Daily News


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