2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 29-30
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

THE MATH YOU NEED WHEN YOU NEED It: LESSONS LEARNED FROM PILOT STUDIES OF QUANTITATIVE RESOURCES FOR INTRODUCTORY GEOSCIENCE STUDENTS

WENNER, Jennifer M., Geology Department, Univ of Wisconsin Oshkosh, 800 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI 54901, wenner@uwosh.edu, BAER, Eric M.D., Geology, Highline Community College, MS 29-3, 2400 S 240th, Des Moines, WA 98198-9800, and BURN, Helen, Mathematics Department, Highline Community College, 2400 S. 240th Street, Des Moines, WA 98198-9800

Current college entrance trends suggest increasing need for remediation of mathematical skills. As a result, introductory geoscience instructors teach large numbers of students who struggle with basic quantitative exercises. One way to support math deficient students is by providing supplemental online math instruction in conjunction with a science course. We present lessons learned from pilot implementations of The Math You Need, When You Need It (TMYN) at Highline Community College and University of Wisconsin Oshkosh since spring 2008. TMYN provides online, modular resources developed by geoscientists to teach and/or review mathematical concepts just before students need to use them in an introductory geoscience course. TMYN is unique because it supplies multiple geoscience contexts for mathematical concepts and its modular nature allows instructors to tailor the program to any introductory course.

In pilot studies, six instructors were given the flexibility to design their own implementation of TMYN, incorporating anywhere from 3 to 7 modules into a geoscience course. Despite the variety of implementations, TMYN successfully remediated math skills to a majority (over 90%) of students who participated. However, student motivation and participation in each class differed significantly, suggesting that our study can provide insight into best practices for motivating students and instructors to utilize online supplemental instruction. Although TMYN is designed to alleviate time spent in class on non-geologic content, instructors who engaged with the material and explicitly connected it to in-class instruction witnessed sustained engagement and participation from greater than 90% of enrolled students. By design, TMYN provides multiple geoscience contexts so that instructors can readily and repeatedly make these connections. Furthermore, the geoscience context provided by TMYN allows students to recognize the relevance of mathematics to geoscience. The transformation of math from abstract to concrete gives students internal motivation to learn the material by illustrating how it will help them succeed in the course. TMYN is uniquely flexible, remediates appropriate skills just before they are used in a course and, by providing context, equips students to learn the math they need to succeed.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 29--Booth# 90
Geoscience Education (Posters)
Oregon Convention Center: Hall A
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Sunday, 18 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 95

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