I posted some resources for improving student success in college math courses over on the POD list, copied below:

I highly recommend this free ebook that MAA (mathematical association of america) put out last year: Instructional Practices Guide: Guide to Evidence-Based Instructional Practices in Undergraduate Mathematics.

If you have an engineering program in which a high percentage of students are underprepared or failing calculus & physics, see the Wright State Model for Engineering Mathematics Education. 89% of students who took their engineering math course went on to pass Calculus, vs. only 60% of students who did not.  There are other examples out there of teaching math in context (biology, business, etc.) to improve student success.

Adopting open (free) textbooks can improve student success in math and other disciplines, perhaps partly because a significant percentage of students don’t even buy the textbook. See for example the free math books offered by OpenStax and Active Calculus.  See also my previous post on The Case for Open Textbooks.

Adaptive learning tools such as ALEKS can help.  Here’s information about a precalc class that went from 45% passing to 55% when adopting active learning methods, and then 70% passing when adopting ALEKS. ALEKS can be integrated with the OpenStax precalculus textbook.

Some also combine the use of adaptive learning tools with the ’emporium’ lab classroom model which has been shown to increase student success, although an increasing number of colleges and states are abandoning traditional remedial math courses and doing co-requisite remediation instead, which appears to be more effective.

Freshmen college success courses can help improve student success but vary widely in their impact on graduation rates.  Some (extended orientation courses) can be worse than not having any course at all.  Whereas for example Ohio State students who took Bruce Tuckman’s Learning and Motivation Strategies course were 45% more likely to graduate.

There are more ideas specific to math education in conferences like RUME and math education journals like PRIMUS.

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I’ve shared a resource in Canvas Commons with some examples of brief, research-based teaching strategies implemented in Canvas, such as: transparent assignments, minute papers, values affirmation, social belonging, goal setting, student testimonials, nudges, discussion protocols, wrappers, and midterm student feedback.   You can preview this resource here.

Some Categories of Evidence-Based Teaching Strategies & Principles

Briefer, Targeted Strategies Broader or More Comprehensive Techniques
More Concrete Strategies These are some of the strategies covered in this Canvas resource:

  • Minute Paper
  • Student Testimonials
  • Transparent Assignments
  • Value Affirmation
  • Discussion Protocols
  • Nudges
  • Wrappers
  • Midterm Student Feedback

Examples of some face-to-face in-class strategies (which are not addressed in this Canvas resource):

Many of these broader teaching techniques derive from discipline-based educational research and development.

More General Principles/Techniques These are some strategies that primarily derive from cognitive psychology and mainly apply to practice and memory.

  • Retrieval Practice / Testing Effect
  • Spacing
  • Interleaving
These are links to more comprehensive Canvas-related resources on effective teaching practices.

More Online Resources about Evidence-based Teaching Practices

Books for Further Reading on Evidence-based Teaching Practices

Some Other Potential Canvas Activities that Could be Included in the Future

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