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Students give math class redesign thumbs up

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Patrick Iler | The Broadside Holly Maxwell, a COCC student, works in the SMART Lab located in Mazama.
The lab is part of a redesign of Math 60, which has received positive feedback after it’s first term.

Lauren Hamlin
The Broadside

If you are planning on taking a pre-algebra course, chances are you will be signing up for one of Central Oregon Community College’s recently redesigned courses.

Beginning this term, COCC’s Math 60 course made a full conversion to the new program now being called Math 60 Redesign, which uses Hawkes Learning Systems’ software. The redesign of the Math 65 course is set to start spring term.

After being in effect for nearly a full term, the course has received positive feedback from students taking it.

“So far it’s been pretty good,” said Jeremiah Jones, a COCC student taking Math 60 Redesign.

With the positive feedback, faculty from the mathematics department are looking forward to expanding the redesign to other math courses.

“We’re planning to redesign [Math] 65,” said Doug Nelson, head of the mathematics department. “We have hopes and plans for redesigning [Math] 95 by fall.”
A difference between this course and the previous traditional course is with the Students Mastering Algebra through Revolutionary Techniques lab (SMART), students are only required to check in a required minimum of two hours per week.

This offers students the flexibility to work when they are able to.

Some advantages to the new course include instant feedback on work students are doing, more student interaction, and more one on one time with instructors, according to COCC’s math instructor Corinn Clark.

“One of the very positive things about the redesign is students communicate with each other prior to talking to instructors,” said Clark. “They talk to each other and work together to help figure out problems.”

In addition to time spent in the lab, students are able to take the software with them so they can work on course materials outside
the lab. Students buy a license key for the software, so it becomes theirs to use anytime.

Once the software is purchased, students will not need to buy it for their remaining algebra courses.

“You don’t have to carry around books so that part is nice,” said Jones. “Your disc is your disc and you can take it any where with you. It’s a positive change.”

The change has also provided some new challenges for students.

“At first there was some frustrations, but students are now at a point of getting used to it,” said Clark. “Students were facing
frustrations with the computers and with the software. We [instructors] try to help as much as possible. If it is a computer issue,
we show an easier way of putting in data and if it is a software issue, well that’s what we’re here for.”

With the teacher to student ratio there are more opportunities for one on one time when students need help.

“They [S.M.A.R.T. lab] usually have two to three teachers and they’re really quick to coming over and helping with whatever
question you have,” said Jones. “I think it has a lot more pros than cons.”

Lauren Hamlin can be reached atlrhamlin@cocc.edu

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