A Stanford University spinoff and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching plan to announce a partnership on Tuesday to expand the distribution of online remedial-mathematics courses that so far have tripled students' success rates in half the time.
NovoEd, an online-learning start-up company that encourages students to work in small groups and to learn from one another, teamed up with the foundation to tackle what is widely considered a nationwide crisis in remedial math.
More than 60 percent of students entering community college require at least one remedial-math course before they can progress to credit-bearing courses. Fewer than a third of those students complete it, according to the foundation.
Over the past two years, the Carnegie Foundation has been trying to improve those numbers through a remedial-math program involving more than 40 community colleges and universities in at least 10 states.
Statway and Quantway, which together make up Carnegie's Pathways Program, have allowed students to complete in one year remedial-math sequences that used to take two years.
A Carnegie spokeswoman said that 17 percent of remedial-math students in the colleges that make up the Statway network historically have achieved math credit within three years, but 49 percent of those in the Statway program did so within a single year. Results were similar with the Quantway program.
The program's director and a senior managing partner at Carnegie, Bernadine Chuck Fong, said in an e-mail on Monday that NovoEd's focus on "student-centered, collaborative learning and pedagogy" meshed with the foundation's collaborative strategies.
A Focus on Collaborative Learning
Amin Saberi, co-founder and chief executive officer of NovoEd, agreed. "By combining forces, we can scale up the curriculum and address this national challenge head-on," he said, also in an interview on Monday. He is on leave from Stanford, where he is an associate professor of management science and engineering.
NovoEd started in January 2013 as an in-house program at Stanford called Venture Lab. Its massive open online courses have reached about 500,000 people in more than 150 countries, Mr. Saberi said.
NovoEd differs from Coursera and Udacity, two MOOC spinoffs that were also started by Stanford professors, in its focus on collaborative learning, Mr. Saberi said.
In NovoEd courses, students are typically assigned to groups of four to seven, based on their experiences and locations, to work on problems and projects together. They're also encouraged to discuss roadblocks they've faced in their own learning and how they've overcome the obstacles.
In the courses, students rate one another as team members, which gives them incentives to be active participants.
Mr. Saberi said the approach the partnership will take, which includes studying in contexts that are relevant to students, is particularly effective with first-generation and underprepared students who often struggle in online courses. Remedial-math students might, for instance, study how a 20-percent interest rate on a credit card adds up over time.
Starting next month, Carnegie and NovoEd plan to offer free short online courses to show how the new platform will work. *********************************************** -- Jerry P. Becker Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction Southern Illinois University 625 Wham Drive Mail Code 4610 Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O] (618) 457-8903 [H] Fax: (618) 453-4244 E-mail: email@example.com