December has been a month of long-pending contracts coming through. We are looking forward to begin new evaluation work with the CUA on their newly funded NSF IUSE grant titled, “Enhancing Student Help-Seeking Behavior and Reinforcing Problem-Solving Skills in Online Mathematics Learning.”
This project aims to serve the national interest by improving curricula in online remedial mathematics education for first-year college students. It will encourage students to develop positive help-seeking behavior, improve first-year student preparation for challenging STEM gateway courses, and equip students with skills to succeed in an increasingly technology-enhanced academic environment. COVID-19 has forced institutions of higher education to conduct academic instruction in online distance-learning environments. With much of this work being asynchronous and learner-led, it is increasingly necessary that students possess or develop instrumental help-seeking behavior (defined as requesting assistance to promote understanding and guide one’s future performance) to succeed in the isolated online environment.
Specifically, the project will conduct an exploratory research study that investigates:
(a) help-seeking behavior among students in need of math review
(b) points at which students elect to seek help and why, and
(c) how instructors and curriculum designers can influence students to adopt instrumental help-seeking behavior in online remote learning.
Help-seeking behavior will be further facilitated by enhancing existing online pre-calculus learning modules to include data-supported prompts (e.g. intrusive advising, automated reminders, instructional videos on help-seeking behavior). Participation in the study will be aided by an intentional recruitment strategy and fee waivers for the online course to 210 total students (70 per year) to ensure a statistically significant number of students participate in this exploratory research project. This project aims to achieve a short-term outcome of 80% of students successfully completing the online curriculum with a grade of “Pass” (from a baseline of 70%) and a midterm outcome of 80% of completers passing Calculus I with a C or better (from a baseline of 73%).