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Monday, May 04, 2015

Collaborative Learning and Online Assessments Enhance Developmental Math at Ohio University-Chillicothe

Photo: Leila Meyer
Leila Meyer, technology writer based in British Columbia writes, "While in his previous role as associate dean, Lafreniere became concerned about the number of students who were repeating developmental mathematics courses two or three times in an effort to move on to college algebra." 

He had started using technology in his classroom in the late 90s, and even back then he saw its potential to make his classroom more efficient so he could spend more time helping students understand concepts. He used it for purposes such as sharing his notes with his students, but what he really wanted was a tool that could assess his math students' problem solving process and give them feedback.

Photo: Campus Technology

Evaluating an Online Instructional Tool
Around 2009, Lafreniere began looking for a tool to accomplish that goal. One of them was WebAssign, an online instructional system that combines digital learning content with instant assessment. "I eyed WebAssign because it had the ability to take advantage of some of the powerful packages on the mathematics and engineering scene, which were Maple and Mathematica," he said in a phone interview. "Those were real draws because I knew the power behind those products that they were tapping into."

As part of the product evaluation process, Lafreniere was able to compare WebAssign and other tools side-by-side in his classroom on a trial basis. "I had the opportunity to bear witness to students and their engagement, their excitement or frustration when working with these different tools," he said. "It was rather interesting to see, in some cases, students taking a developmental sequence in two different formats at the same time. Usually you're comparing apples to oranges so to speak with different students, but we actually had students experiencing both."

Source: Campus Technology

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