Alternative Path to Eligibility
This document is intended as a guide for students and advisors to the various paths by which students may reach Quantitative Literacy courses (Math 1030, Math 1050, and Stat 1040). The need for clear and precise information arises from the pilot, and possible future permanent implementation, of an individualized, mastery-based, self-paced online learning system. Alternative to the traditional path through developmental courses Math 0950, Math 0990, and Math 1010 OR a sufficient score on the Math Placement Exam, students may also qualify for a QL course (Math 1060, also) by completing the online learning system and passing a final assessment patterned after the Math 1010 final exam.
In Spring Semester, 2012, a Regional Campuses and Distance Education (RCDE) task force was assembled to make recommendations for an alternative, innovative, path to QL courses. The committee recommended that RCDE conduct a pilot study of two commercial online learning systems in Summer Semester, 2012. This recommendation was supported by the Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Richard Cutler, well-received by RCDE administrators, and put into action.
While this pilot study has yet to be concluded, initial indications are that students are eager for this type of path through developmental mathematics and enjoy working in the online systems. Indeed, all spots in the pilot section filled quickly and feedback throughout the summer has been overwhelmingly positive.
Even though preliminary indications are hopeful, it is too early to tell how well the online systems prepare students for the final assessment and for subsequent classes. Nonetheless we are cautiously optimistic. In fact, we feel justified in extending the pilot on a limited basis through Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 Semesters. Of the two online learning systems used on a trial basis in Summer Semester, 2012, it has become apparent that one, Knewton is a better fit for our needs. Accordingly, only Knewton will be used by new students who enroll in the online learning system course in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 Semesters. In both semesters there will be two new sections available, capped at 100 students each.
General Information about the Knewton Online Learning System and its Trial Implementation at USU:
By using the Knewton program students may bypass as many as three USU courses: Math 0950, Math 0990, and Math 1010. It is a self-paced and mastery-based on-line course. Students will engage in diagnostic assessments which allow them to test out of numerous units based on existing and newly mastered skills. Students who have already been successful in Math 0950 or Math 0990 will quickly progress to the content of Math 1010 not yet mastered. Instruction is provided through videos, presentations, guided examples, and practice exercises.
Knewton can be accessed from any internet-capable device, giving students freedom in time and place of studying. Math faculty members will provide additional help/tutoring free of charge throughout the program, upon request. Students may also seek support provided by local campuses. Students who do not complete the course in one semester will be able to continue in the subsequent one or two semesters.
The following is a list of potential benefits of using Knewton:
- Cost is reasonable ($200 for the first semester and, if needed, the time period to complete the program may be extended at a cost of $100 per each additional semester)
- Students at any level—Pre-Algebra (Math 0950), Beginning Algebra (Math 0990), or Intermediate Algebra (Math 1010)—who are motivated have the opportunity to qualify for Math 1050/Stat 1040 in one semester
- Students who work at a slower pace may stretch the online instruction/practice over two or three semesters at low cost—and with no repercussions to their GPA
- Flexibility! Students can work on the course as frequently as they wish, any time of day, and at any location where there is internet access
- The course is individualized in a couple of ways: (1) it is self-paced, (2) it will allow students to test out of units/sections based on existing knowledge and skills
- Students will achieve the necessary level of proficiency of prerequisite knowledge/skill before advancing to units/sections that depend on that knowledge/skill
- The course is not for credit and is not graded, it cannot harm a student’s GPA, and it may reduce stress/anxiety
- Students who do not pass the final assessment may repeat the course without impacting their GPA
- Students don’t waste time in courses where there is content they have already learned—students “test out of” lessons targeting knowledge and skills already possessed
Additional information about Knewton can be found at http://www.knewton.com/math-readiness/.
Online learning systems may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Besides the two new sections of the Knewton learning System each semester, RCDE will continue to offer the usual slate of online, IVC/Broadcast, and Face-to-Face sections of Math 0950, Math 0990, and Math 1010 courses. Students who are self-starters, self-motivated, independent learners, and comfortable with online applications/programs are encouraged to give Knewton a try. Students who need more structure, regular and frequent contact with instructors in a classroom setting, and interaction with peers are encouraged to follow a traditional path through Math 0950, Math 0990, and/or Math 1010 as preparation for college QL courses. As usual, students may also place into a QL course by obtaining a sufficient score on the Math Placement Exam.
Fall 2012 Registration Information:
Students may register for Knewton by enrolling in a Fall 2012 Semester section of Math 0921 on Banner the same way they would register for any other course (students should register for a full-semester course, not the one-week Logan Math refresher workshop which also uses the Math 0921 designation).
Students who were enrolled in cancelled sections of Math 0990 and Math 1010 will have first priority in registering for Math 0921 (Knewton). Students already registered for other sections of Math 0950/0990/1050 will have second priority; after that registration will be open to all students.
Instructors for the two Fall 2012 sections of the Knewton online learning system are Dr. Piotr Runge (firstname.lastname@example.org) – Math Lecturer based at the Tooele campus and Dr. Greg Wheeler (email@example.com) – Math Lecturer based at the Uintah Basin campus. Feel free to contact them for further information.