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  5. Evaluating the increase in student wellbeing brought about by informal online sessions and computer generated worked examples on a level 3 pure maths module

Evaluating the increase in student wellbeing brought about by informal online sessions and computer generated worked examples on a level 3 pure maths module

Project leader(s): 
Hayley Ryder and Toby O’Neil
Theme: 
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current

Issue: student well-being and anxiety. Accessibility of tutorial type resources.

Many students experiencing problems with abstract mathematics either already experience maths anxiety or develop it. They can also lack self-efficacy and mathematical resilience.

Textbooks and module materials invariably demonstrate `correct’ mathematics, often showing an imaginary student’s thoughts at each stage. These ‘correct’ thoughts are usually not what the real student is thinking and so exacerbate anxiety issues and feelings of isolation. Distance education students rarely see others struggling mathematically; they see tutors, text or screencasts showing perfect mathematics flowing easily, even though in reality ‘first versions’ of  mathematics are often messy and incorrect.  On M303, the module team currently produce planned online sessions (podcasts) presented in an informal, conversational style with the goal of raising mathematical resilience and self-efficacy and increasing student wellbeing. Our sessions use existing hardware that enable us to write maths live, in real time, thus demonstrating how maths appears before writing up. A conversational, informal style helps transfer affective learning objectives (it is okay to make mistakes in mathematics and all mathematicians do it). These sessions are popular with M303 students.

With this project, we intend to:

  1.  continue refining the sessions whilst investigating reuse possibilities (currently most sessions are recorded afresh each year) and developing STACK questions to enable students to generate relevant worked examples and practice questions. 
  2. investigate free software to enable faster and cheaper production of closed captions for these sessions to improve accessibility.
  3. survey the current M303 cohort to pin down what makes these sessions successful, looking in particular at wellbeing and on any additional benefit from the related STACK questions.

Evaluation would be via mixed methods (a questionnaire covering resilience, anxiety and wellbeing completed both before and after sessions are viewed, together with semi-structured interviews with students (selected using the questionnaire data).

Hayley Ryder and Toby O'Neil poster (PPTX)

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