June 16, 2002
June 16, 2002
June 19, 2002
7.318.1 - 7.318.3
Computer Assisted Mathematics Instruction William Feldman, Wayne Mackey
Department of Mathematics University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR 72701
Abstract: Aspects of a computer assisted model of instruction for lower level mathematics courses including college algebra, trigonometry and finite mathematics will be presented. The overall philosophy of this approach is that students learn best by working problems for themselves. The system enables students to have instant feedback on their progress. When a student either solves a problem incorrectly or is unable to solve a problem, the computer provides a tutorial to indicate the correct methods and solution. The computer then generates a similar problem for the student to solve using the same concepts. The student is required to complete correctly each type of problem prior to each examination. This has fostered confidence and leads to success for the student. High and uniform standards are maintained on computer graded exams. Compared with traditional courses, statistics indicate higher grades in the computer assisted model and perhaps more importantly, better success in subsequent courses. With the assistance of a $449,999 grant from the NSF, experiments with this model are taking place in five different colleges and universities.
The computer assisted instruction which we call the Interactive Modular Mathematics Education system (IMME) utilizes the computer to facilitate the kind of teaching that has traditionally proven successful, specifically, to encourage students to learn by doing mathematics. The teacher still lectures and holds discussions, the students still read the text, answer questions and do homework problems. Tests are still given and grades assigned. All of this still takes place within the confines of a regular semester.
There are some significant differences however. Most good teachers ask frequent questions of their classes to determine the level of understanding of the subject matter under discussion. Unfortunately, unless there are only one or two students in the class, not every student is asked about every topic. Furthermore, it isn't possible to keep asking alternate questions when students don't know the correct answers. These things are made possible using IMME. Each student answers an entire series of questions on a given section or module. If students demonstra te a sufficient understanding of the subject matter then they are allowed to begin doing homework problems. If not, another series of slightly different questions is provided. This continues until each student has established appropriate proficiency. We require at least 90% correct on one series of questions.
Once the students have demonstrated a sufficient understanding, they are allowed to do homework problems. These are fairly typical problems but, in light of the reform movements by the NCTM and AMATYC1, the focus has been shifted from complicated symbol manipulation to mathematical literacy and understanding of concepts. Of course, students are assigned problems in a traditional class, but are frequently frustrated and lose confidence when unable to do problems correctly and make meaningful progress on their homework. Even the more talented students will have to wait days before learning whether their work is done correctly. Under the IMME system the student receives instant feedback on every pro blem regardless of the student's
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Feldman, W., & Mackey, W. (2002, June), Computer Assisted Mathematics Instruction Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10201
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