Board announces math changes

Students can now use their own laptops in math lab classes.

Students will be allowed to use their own computers in math class starting this winter.

That was one of the math changes announced at the MCCC Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 24.

Grace Yackee, vice president of Instruction, said the college will be piloting a program that offers two traditional math classes that combine Math 090 and 092 beginning in the 2017 Winter semester.

The changes are to the redesigned math program, which was launched five years ago. 

The program centered on an online math program, MyMathLab, for the fundamental math classes.

Students had to buy a computer for the class.

Yackee announced that math lab fees will be reduced from $315 to $100 dollars beginning this winter. This is the first change in the program since it began in 2012.

She said research showed 60 to 70 percent of students enrolled in a math class brought their own computers to class, so they decided to allow students to use their own computers and no longer include a computer in the course material provided.

Starting in the winter semester, the lab fee will give students access to MyMathLab and cover the cost of the workbook, Yackee said.

Sue Wetzel, Vice President of Administration, said they are looking into offering computers in the bookstore for students to buy if they need a computer for class.

The piloted traditional math classes are reserved for students who test in the high end of placement in Math 090 or students who test in the low end of placement in Math 092.

The classes will cover Math 090 in four weeks and then spend 11 weeks covering Math 092 material.

Yackee said the students must test high in Math 090 to handle the accelerated pace, but low in Math 092 so they do not get bored with the four week review.

“Most often the students who are testing in the low end of 092 will significantly benefit from that review of 090 and also allows them to adjust to the technology,” Yackee said.

The review will give students time to learn how the computer program operates before they start learning new math concepts.

Yackee said 60 students can enroll in the pilot program this winter.

The other change in the math program is that Math 090, Math 092, and Math 151 will be combined in the winter, Yackee said.

Currently, Math 092 and Math 151 are combined and Math 090 is taught separately.

The data collected over the past year by Jamie DeLeeuw, Coordinator of Institutional Research, Evaluation and Assessment, showed that Math 090 and 151 were successful, but Math 092 was problematic.

Yackee said they found that students who took Math 090 were more successful in Math 092 than the students who did not take Math 090.

By combining the three classes, students were more likely to successfully complete all the courses, Yackee said.

“We also wanted to increase the opportunities for students to interact with each other in small group settings,” Yackee said. “Students excelling in the course are likely to help the students in the lower sections.”

Yackee thanked the math professors for their willingness to explore this pilot program.

 “The faculty are very receptive to opportunities to improve what we are doing in mathematics,” Yackee said.

She said they were willing to look at the data and make changes that not only maintained the integrity of the redesign program, but also looked at student needs.

“It is nice to hear that the faculty are listening,” math tutor Josh Nocella said.

President Kojo Quartey said the program is data driven, so he hopes it will lead to student success.

“I commend the math faculty for moving in this direction. There is still a ways to go yet in some areas but this is great,” Quartey said.

DeLeeuw presented the Fall 2016 Student Profile Data Report to the board.

The data in the report did not include direct college students.

Seventy percent of students on campus are enrolled part-time, DeLeeuw said.

Josh Myers, executive director of The Foundation, reported that there are two new endowed scholarships. The college now has 50 endowed scholarships.

He also said the college implemented a Student Emergency Fund.

The college was able to use the money in the fund to help one student buy back books lost in a fire, and there is more money in the fund to help more students in similar situations.

Quartey reminded the board that they were two weeks away from Election Day.

He reported that he was still going door-to-door lobbying for the millage.

Jack Burns, Director of Campus Planning and Facilities, said HVAC construction is coming to an end.

“We survived,” Burns said.

The next MCCC Board of Trustees meeting is Nov. 28.