New learning center focuses on student success in math
Published November 24, 2015
The Department of Mathematics opened the Math Emporium Learning Center this fall to help students get a strong start in the math classes required for many majors.
The learning center provides more structure than the traditional lecture by incorporating practice and immediate feedback. Students still attend a weekly class meeting and lecture, but also are required to log at least two hours a week practicing course material at the learning center.
The learning center is staffed by math instructors and has 82 workstations with state-of-the-art math software. Students use the software to do their homework and study. The software includes videos, animations and tutorials they can review as often as they need to. It also gives them immediate feedback, so they know whether they are doing the work correctly. And instructors are ready to help when students need it.
Spencer Nice, a freshman majoring in botany, is taking college algebra. He has always been strong in math, but likes the learning center approach. He watches a lot of videos to make sure he understands concepts and to study for tests. “It’s kind of like having a teacher with you at all times,” he said.
NDSU faculty are focused on helping students succeed and graduate on time. The Math Emporium Learning Center is a new approach to help first and second year students get a good start in the math courses they need for many majors.
Emma Groom, a freshman marketing major, is also taking college algebra and liking the format. “It’s nice to come in and get help,” she said. “You never really do math work alone.”
The learning center focuses on college algebra, trigonometry and pre-calculus. Students taking these classes are often first- and second-year students who are adapting to college academics and may still be developing study skills. The learning center approach provides structured practice and feedback rather than leaving the students on their own.
The learning center environment allows a higher level of personalized instruction, said Director Mohamed Baghzali. Students have several options for learning material and taking tests. It also helps students develop study skills that can be used in other courses.
The approach is too new to quantify how it’s working, but Baghzali said early results are encouraging.