Subject: General Mathematics 1 & 2, Advanced Mathematics 1 & 2
Institution: RMIT Foundation Studies
Background & Purpose
The four Mathematics Canvas sites are makeovers of the exisiting content. In 2016-2017 RMIT migrated all LMS content from Blackboard to Canvas. Although this was done efficiently, the imported content was in a bad shape – broken links, blank pages, misplaced files, and a lack of module structure etc. Therefore, one of the main goals of this project is to re-design the information architecture and to clean up the sites so they they become functional and user-friendly.
The other goal is to introduce Mathspace, a third-party online learning website for interactive math exercises. Owing to the particular educational needs of Foundation Studies, the existing Canvas functionalities are not able to the support sophisticated math practices that includes complex input of math equations and the working-out of math problems. Math educators also grappled with finding time and resources to build extensive question banks. Following a review, a pilot and then proposal process, Mathspace was contracted. The scope of the project extended to integrating Mathspace to Canvas, as well as training up and providing support to Math educators.
Design & Build
The enhancement of the four math course sites feature the following online components:
- A homepage that serves as the jump-off point to other parts of the site
- A syllabus page that includes a Course Guide
- An assessment page – all assessment are paper-based but online provides sample questions and assessment information.
- Module content are re-organised in Units/Chapters; each has a theory/course notes component and a practical component. Long pages have been broken up and a TOC is used for quick navigation to the different headings.
- Announcements are enabled and used throughout the semester for educators to communicate updates, remind students of upcoming exams etc.
In order for students to be able to easily find exercises, links to Mathspace exercises are built into units/week. Each topic has 1-2 aligned exercises that are curated by a Math curriculum writer. An introduction page is added in the course welcome module. Math educators are required to go through the orientation in the first week in their class.
The Mathspace exercises are used in two ways:
- Weekly knowledge checks – 20 minutes exercises assigned to students at the end of each session/week
- Remediation exercises – Each educator is responsible for identifying at-risk students based on their formative assessments (Quiz 1 & 2). Educators assign remedial tasks to students based on their weaknesses.