Math emporium provides hands-on learning
Georgia College professors have made math count for more than just a course requirement.
During fall 2011 math instructors introduced a new pedagogy to help students understand and apply college algebra using the latest technology.
The Department of Mathematics collaborated with Georgia College Information Technology and the Library and Instructional Technology Center to create a math emporium — Georgia College’s largest computer lab dedicated to math and personalized instruction.
“The lab features approximately 100 Dell computers, which use web-based state-of-the-art mathematics software,” said Dr. Robert Blumenthal, mathematics department chair. “Students learn and practice the material at their own pace and receive immediate feedback in an environment that allows a higher level of individualized instruction than in traditional course formats.”
Using the online math series MyMathLab, students navigate through course chapters that include videos, animations and tutorial exercises correlating with their textbooks.
“Since college algebra is an entry-level course, some students view it as merely a refresher class after high school,” said Blumenthal. “The goal of the emporium is to enhance the mathematical preparation of our students and to do so in a manner that increases student engagement, satisfaction and success.”
The emporium includes an open area with computer stations and hanging display screens for group demonstrations. Personal instruction seminar rooms also are available for studying or tutoring.
“The lab is a unique, interactive learning environment,” said Joe Windish, lead technical specialist for Georgia College Instructional Support. “Our computers are part of a secure, robust system, so 100 students can do 100 math problems fast.”
Georgia College math professors developed the emporium model to give students a hands-on approach and a better experience with mathematics as they begin their college career, said Blumenthal.
“Success in college algebra is crucial for our students because the skills learned in this course are needed in order for them to advance within their chosen major,” Blumenthal said. “The emporium model enables us to offer college algebra in a format using powerful instructional technology and more student/faculty interaction than might otherwise be possible.”