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User Stories - Academic

Florida’s Indian River Community College wins national laurels for online tutorial and assessment modules
Prof. Asoka Peiris used Maple T.A.™ for dramatic improvements in student learning

Indian River PicTo raise the success level in his algebra course, Professor Peiris, Math Department Chair at Indian River Community College, Florida, made a commitment to himself: improve his students’ conceptual understanding and provide tutorial practice of math problems while accommodating different learning styles. His strategy was to increase the use of technology in his classroom, and he turned to Maplesoft™, a leading provider of high-performance software tools for science and mathematics. He used Maplesoft’s testing and assessment product Maple T.A.™ to develop online tools that enable students to diagnose their own weaknesses in math comprehension and access practice materials at their own convenience.

The students loved the new approach to learning and Professor Peiris saw dramatic improvements in the class’ response. He won many accolades for the success of this program. He won the League Connection’s 2006 Innovation of the Year Award for outstanding innovation and has been nominated for the Bellwether Award by the 2007 Community College Futures Assembly (result to be announced in January 2007). Professor Peiris will also be presenting a paper called “Online Tutorial Program for College Algebra using Maple T.A." at the 19th Annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Online Tutorial Program in Mathematics
Professor Peiris created computerized quizzes and homework problems using Maple T.A. Thus, Indian River College received a learning system that helps students understand the step-by-step methodology and reasoning behind solving algebra problems. The modules address various learning styles, and help students understand abstract concepts, get step-by-step assistance in solving problems, receive instant feedback, and reduce reliance on textbooks. The math faculty also uses the modules for classroom demonstrations.

All quizzes and homework problems are algorithmically generated. This means there is no limit to the number of practice questions a student can use and no student is presented with the same quiz or homework problem twice. When a student completes a quiz, Maple T.A. provides instant feedback and test results are sent to the student’s instructor. This feedback enables the instructor to identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses and offer personalized assistance.

“The infusion of technology into math instruction has increased the success rates in college algebra and has increased the number of students who are attempting more advanced math courses,” said Professor Peiris. “Although many publishers provide technology assistance for algebra students, what I like about Maple T.A. is that the quizzes and tutorials run on the college servers and are free to all students. They can access them from home or in campus computer labs. Students who used Maple T.A. for college algebra have now requested the same for their pre-calculus algebra and trigonometry classes. This, to me, reflects their excitement at a better way of learning Math.”