Nicholas Gibson

Abstracts

2 Mitigating Self-Regulation Issues in the Online Instruction of Math

Authors: Robert Vanderburg, Michael Cowling, Nicholas Gibson

Abstract:

Mathematics is one of the core subjects taught in the Australian K-12 education system and is considered an important component for future studies in areas such as engineering and technology. In addition to this, Australia has been a world leader in distance education due to the vastness of its geographic landscape. Despite this, research is still needed on distance math instruction. Even though delivery of curriculum has given way to online studies, and there is a resultant push for computer-based (PC, tablet, smartphone) math instruction, much instruction still involves practice problems similar to those original curriculum packs, without the ability for students to self-regulate their learning using the full interactive capabilities of these devices. Given this need, this paper addresses issues students have during online instruction. This study consists of 32 students struggling with mathematics enrolled in a math tutorial conducted in an online setting. The study used a case study design to understand some of the blockades hindering the students’ success. Data was collected by tracking students practice and quizzes, tracking engagement of the site, recording one-on-one tutorials, and collecting data from interviews with the students. Results revealed that when students have cognitively straining tasks in an online instructional setting, the first thing to dissipate was their ability to self-regulate. The results also revealed that instructors could ameliorate the situation and provided useful data on strategies that could be used for designing future online tasks. Specifically, instructors could utilize cognitive dissonance strategies to reduce the cognitive drain of the tasks online. They could segment the instruction process to reduce the cognitive demands of the tasks and provide in-depth self-regulatory training, freeing mental capacity for the mathematics content. Finally, instructors could provide specific scheduling and assignment structure changes to reduce the amount of student centered self-regulatory tasks in the class. These findings will be discussed in more detail and summarized in a framework that can be used for future work.

Keywords: Distance Education, Mathematics Education, Digital Education, Self-regulation

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1 Distance Education: Using a Digital Platform to Improve Struggling University Students' Mathematical Skills

Authors: Robert Vanderburg, Nicholas Gibson

Abstract:

Objectives: There has been an increased focus in education students’ mathematics skills in the last two years. Universities have, specifically, had problems teaching students struggling with mathematics. This paper focuses on the ability of a digital platform to significantly improve mathematics skills for struggling students. Methods: 32 students who demonstrated low scores on a mathematics test were selected to take part in a one-month tutorial program using a digital mathematics portal. Students were provided feedback for questions posted on the portal and a fortnightly tutorial session. Results: A pre-test post-test design was analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The analysis suggested that students improved skills in algebra, geometry, statistics, probability, ratios, fractions, and probability. Conclusion: Distance university students can improve their mathematics skills using a digital platform.

Keywords: Higher Education, Distance Education, Mathematics Education, Digital Education

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