April 21, 2019  

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Student Success focus of Math Zone Remodeling, Algebra Course Redesign

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Emileigh Sones, director of the Math Zone on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus, demonstrates use of a new computer in the facility for Dr. Eric Tribunella, executive associate dean for faculty and operations in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, during an open house Jan. 22 at the facility. The Math Zone provides tutorial support for students enrolled in College Algebra (USM photo by David Tisdale).

The newly remodeled Math Zone on The University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus reflects efforts over the past two years at redesigning the university’s College Algebra course.

Emileigh Sones, director of the Math Zone, said the goal of the redesign is for students to successfully complete College Algebra in one semester, using a co-requisite support model that includes a support course taken with College Algebra in the same semester, with the Math Zone’s updated computer laboratory and classroom ready for use as a resource in the spring 2019 semester.

In the new support course, students receive guidance from learning assistants, and strengthen their algebra skills while working actively with other students to improve as a team and an individual.

“We’ve seen that by providing this additional support, students are not only more prepared for their College Algebra classes, but more confident in their abilities to succeed. In addition, we have innovated our classrooms by implementing active learning strategies in our lecture classes, and offering trained tutors in our computer lab setting to help students during the computer lab portion of the course.

“By offering three different settings, students are able to experience classes taught in a way that works best with each student’s learning style.”

Other highlights of USM’s college algebra course redesign and Math Zone remodeling include:

• Reordering College Algebra course content to produce improved student comprehension from topic to topic

• Applied active learning techniques in the lecture classes

• Creating a professional learning community for all College Algebra instructors and graduate students to work collaboratively, and continuously improve teaching methods

• Remodeled Math Zone computer lab and classroom to visually update the space and make it more inviting and dynamic for students

The Math Zone is located across from the main entrance to Cook Library and next to the historic Power House dining facility. For more information about the Math Zone at Southern Miss, email Sones at emileigh.sones@usm.edu.