Mar 13

Improving Completion Rates in Online Developmental Math Courses

mathPosterOn February 28, Patricia Brower, Math Technology Specialist, and Jeff Johnston, UAS Campus Director, presented at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Conference in Portland on their Title III funded case study. The focus of the presentation was on the analysis of the changes made to the online developmental math courses at the Sitka Campus. Patricia and Jeff spoke with several attendees about the success of the case study and the improvements made to the completion rates of UAS’ online developmental math courses; the courses have sustained a 30% increase in completion rates over five continuous semesters.

Under the UAS Sitka Campus Title III grant, research was conducted to discover how we could increase completion rates for our online developmental math courses. Using the well known emporium model (where math is taught within a physical lab) as a guide, we set out to improve our completion rates by improving sustained engagement. In looking at the research data, we found that throughout the US, developmental math courses were serving as a barrier to completion not only of the math courses themselves, but of degrees in general. Creating an “impassable gateway” for many, and serving as a graveyard for college students, developmental math courses have proven to be in need of redesign so that student can acquire their degrees and to go on to successful careers. To learn more about the purpose and approach of the research read the brief report.

The case study brought much interest from campuses across the United States interested in the possibility of creating successful online courses for developmental mathematics. Jeff and Patricia presented on how through the project, the Title III team was able to adapt the emporium model to a completely online environment. This new “Virtual Emporium Model” is one of the first models used for online developmental math education. Mcgraw Hill is featuring the results of this case study for other Universities, so that they can see how to successfully use adaptive math programs like ALEKS on their own campuses.