Whether they are fresh out of high school or adults needing a refresher when returning to college, many students have trouble with mathematics courses. The University of Oklahoma provides a Developmental Math Lab for these students, which is housed within the College of Professional and Continuing Studies.
Dr. Nancy Matthews was in the OU mathematics department when she was part of a committee to help find a solution for remedial math students. Having shown her dedication and passion through that research, she was asked to become the Director of Developmental Mathematics.
Over 600 students enroll in the courses every year. Most students fall into two categories-students returning to school after some period without mathematic instruction or recent high school graduates who lack a solid foundation in mathematics.
Although there have been remedial math programs at OU for over twenty years, Matthews ushered in new practices that focused on student success.
Beginning this fall, the Developmental Math department is partnering with Redlands Community College to offer these classes on the OU campus in the Thurman J. White Forum. Matthews says that these courses do not follow the typical lecture style, but instead focus on student interaction to facilitate learning. Students attend one hour of lecture class time per week, then spend another two hours per week in a computer lab working on assignments. The computer labs are always staffed with the adjunct faculty members of the courses and are open seventy hours a week for maximum flexibility. This allows students the opportunity to learn in several different styles and receive the one on one interaction to contribute to their success.
Matthews hopes to keep improving upon the success of the Math Lab and keeps an open mind to change is from semester to semester with feedback and the results of students. Currently, she is working towards a project called “Math Until Done,” which encourages students to continue their required math courses consecutively, improving the chance of success.