I had a few minutes today waiting in the doctor’s office (actually it was more like a few hours. Can I charge the doctor for my time?) I was thinking about some of the problems in math instruction and the ones that I am encountering as I explore a redesign of our online courses.
- Students feel isolated; they cannot get the support they need when they need it.
- Student cannot achieve manageable milestones.
- They do not have the prerequisite concepts and skills before they start a math course.
- Student go too fast through the courses.
- Do not master a concept before moving on to the next concept.
- They want a tutor to teach them, not the textbook.
- Student don’t explore the multimedia resources if it is not integral to the course.
- Student don’t read the textbook.
Some of my ideas about how to address these problems are:
Create chat rooms for each concept that is being taught. If the student needs help, they can join the chat room and discuss the problems with other students who are also grappling with the same problems. Or have a TA online that the students can call or skype or set up virtual office hours.
Create a milestones in the course that students must meet before them can move on to new material. Make sure that they understand the concept through some sort of assessment before they can move on to new material.
Move a word problem from the end of the lesson to the beginning of the lesson and use it to start a conversation. Allow the word problem to drive the instruction and introduce the concepts to be learned. Make the word problem visual