ABOUT THE LUMBERJACK MATHEMATICS CENTER

Welcome to the Lumberjack Mathematics Center (LMC)

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics has redesigned four of its first-year mathematics courses to help students master the subjects:

These courses will combine in-class instruction with lab time in the Lumberjack Mathematics Center, where students have access to valuable resources, including instructors and math tutors.

Read on for more information about the innovative methods we are using and how they will affect individual courses, or go directly to the page that interests you below.


Course details

MAT 100

MAT 100 students do mathematics in the Lumberjack Mathematics Center using software with a variety of built-in help tools. At the same time, they have immediate access to a course instructor and several tutors.

MAT 108

In MAT 108 students have one weekly meeting in a classroom in which they explore some of the core concepts in groups through hands-on activities. Students spend the rest of their required time using software in the Lumberjack Mathematics Center. Instructors, tutors, and software help tools are available to provide immediate assistance.

MAT 114

MAT 114 students meet once a week in a classroom. They spend the rest of their required time in the Lumberjack Mathematics Center to complete their mathematics problems with help from their instructor and tutor.

MAT 125

MAT 125 students spend their time in both the classroom and the lab, using the most current and innovative software combined with instructors and tutors to prepare themselves for higher math.

 

All students in the newly redesigned classes are required to spend time in the Lumberjack Mathematics Center during open lab hours outside of their regular scheduled class times. Instructors and tutors are available to help students at all times.

The Lumberjack Mathematics Center has over 250 computers and is located in the brand new Health and Learning Center. There are quiet study rooms and comfortable seating areas for students to enjoy just outside of the Lumberjack Mathematics Center.

Course design philosophy

Students in our newly designed courses learn by doing mathematics – a lot of mathematics. Research has shown that the essence of learning is doing, rather than passively listening. [1]

President Haeger has called for instructional innovation to better address the way that today’s students learn. He believes that effective use of technology is a key tool in increasing student retention. In his September 14, 2011 Campus Address he announced a new project for freshman mathematics courses: a mathematics course redesign using an emporium model.

National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) characteristics and goals

The new course design is based guidelines from the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT). The NCAT has worked with several universities nationwide on course redesign. They estimate that over 160,000 students have participated in one of the 120 redesigned courses.  They report that course redesign:

  • improves student learning
  • increases course completion
  • improves retention
  • improves students’ attitudes toward the subject
  • increases student satisfaction with the mode of instruction

NCAT characteristics and goals for a new course design, which we follow, include:

  • restructuring of the whole course, not just a single class
  • emphasizing active learning – greater student engagement with the material and one another
  • relying heavily on readily available interactive software, used independently and in teams
  • mastery learning – it is not self-paced; there are deadlines
  • increasing on-demand, individualized assistance from instructors, tutors, and software
  • automating only components that can benefit from automation (e.g., homework, quizzes, exams)
  • replacing a single mode of instruction with several different types
  • enhancing quality by individualizing instruction
  • assessing students’ knowledge in much smaller units
  • providing feedback and direction to allow students to make up for specific deficiencies
  • giving students help numerous hours per week
  • improving the course as it proceeds

We would like to add our own goals to this list:

  • improving mathematics learning
  • helping students succeed in subsequent courses

In an era when students can easily grab material online, including lectures by gifted speakers in every field, a learning environment that avoids courses completely—or seriously reshapes them—might produce a very effective new form of college.

[1] Thiel, Teresa; Peterman, Shahla; Brown, Monica. Addressing the Crisis in College Mathematics: Designing Courses for Student Success. Change, Jul/Aug2008, Vol. 40 Issue 4, p44-49, 6p