STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING SUCCESS OF NON-MAJORS AND MAJORS IN INTRODUCTORY PHYSICAL GEOLOGY COURSES AT A LARGE TWO-YEAR COLLEGE
Quantitative skills are required for all introductory geology courses at Wake Tech. However, most of our students are not prepared for, and even have a fear of, the math required in these courses. The Math You Need, When You Need It (TMYN) is a series of web modules to help students succeed with mathematics in geoscience classes. Prior to using quantitative skills in lecture or lab, students complete relevant TMYN modules as homework to learn these skills. TMYN modules were first implemented in my seated and online Physical Geology courses during the 2011-2012 academic year. Module topics included rates, unit conversions, graphing, and slopes. Pre- to Post-Test scores from each semester of implementation indicate that a majority of students increased their quantitative literacy over the course of the semester. Due to my success during the first year, all seven Wake Tech geology faculty members agreed to utilize the TMYN Rates module in their Physical Geology courses starting in the Spring 2013 semester. Results of the evolving TMYN implementation at Wake Tech will be presented.
Wake Tech has also been developing resources to assist students who decide to major in geoscience after transferring to a four-year college or university. Students in our Physical Geology courses that are identified as having an interest/aptitude for geoscience are given individual mentoring. In addition, these students receive opportunities to meet practicing geoscientists, attend local professional meetings, and participate in field activities. The students are also given the opportunity to conduct summer research projects through a collaboration with NC State University, in which we are trying to increase the number and diversity of students pursuing a geoscience career. While the main focus of these strategies is to recruit and support geoscience majors, we are increasing interest and understanding of geoscience for all students by making connections between geoscience and every day activities.