Paper No. 125-10
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM

ADDRESSING MATH PREPAREDNESS IN ONLINE GENERAL EDUCATION GEOSCIENCE COURSES THROUGH IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MATH YOU NEED, WHEN YOU NEED IT


JERDE, Eric A., Earth & Space Sciences, Morehead State University, 235 Martindale Drive, Morehead, KY 40351, e.jerde@moreheadstate.edu
Quantitative skills have become central in all geoscience courses at Morehead State University. This is true even for our general education course dealing with natural disasters, called Dangerous Planet. However, most of our students are not prepared for, and fear the math required in these courses, even with a math pre-requisite of college algebra. Typical quantitative skills required for our general education course include calculating rates, recurrence intervals, graphing data, unit conversion, and basic rearranging of equations. In the past, much class time has been spent in instruction of these skills that we would all expect to already be present. The Math You Need, When You Need It (TMYN) is a NSF-funded program that created a series of web modules created to help students succeed with mathematics in geoscience classes. During the first several weeks of the Dangerous Planet course, students complete relevant TMYN modules to learn these skills on their own. The modules contain step-by-step instructions and practice problems related to geoscience.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, three TMYN modules were integrated into two fully online Dangerous Planet sections. Module topics included rates, unit conversions, and graphing. The web nature of TMYN makes it fairly seamless to incorporate into the online course environment, and consisted of a pre-test (for extra credit to add an incentive to complete it in a serious fashion), the three modules, and a post-test, over the first five weeks. A link to the website for TMYN was put into the course site on Blackboard, with instructions on how to proceed. The modules were scheduled with due dates that corresponded to the dates for the course learning modules, to further minimize confusion. Pre- to Post-Test scores from each semester of implementation indicate that a majority of students increased their quantitative ability, and the overall average on the post-test was 88-89%. Comments from students indicate that they appreciated the opportunity to work through basic skills in a low-pressure, discipline-specific manner, and many commented that they enjoyed the modules. Results and strategies for effectively implementing TMYN in introductory Physical Geology courses, along with potential future approaches will be presented.