The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) through Targeted Infusion Projects supports the development, implementation, and study of evidence-based innovative models and approaches for improving the preparation and success of HBCU undergraduate students so that they may pursue STEM graduate programs and/or careers. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff aspires to enhance minority STEM majors’ mathematics performance and coding experiences by incorporating cyber, research, and peer-led team learning (PLTL) strategies into calculus courses. This work is important as it addresses the need to reform mathematics instruction to enhance student learning in those courses, courses that are integral to students successfully earning STEM degrees. The project seeks to re-design existing courses in a manner that has already proved successful in other lower-level, algebra courses. If successful, this project will be integral to reducing the student attrition rate in STEM courses. It will (1) aid the ongoing transformation of the course delivery of the institution’s math courses, (2) equip the university’s STEM faculty with additional tools for supporting improved student performance in the STEM courses, and (3) directly increase larger numbers of students who are prepared for entry in the STEM workforce.
The goal of this project is to increase passing rates of Calculus I and II courses by utilizing evidence based (EB) instructional methods. The specific aims of the project are to (1) provide a 2-week summer faculty development workshop in coding and Evidence Based (EB) instructions, (2) design and implement EB instructional Calculus I and Calculus II courses, and (3) train and mentor PLTL leaders. The PIs will use three EB methods to teach Calculus: Julia computer programing, PLTL, and WebAssign. Through PLTL workshops, students will enhance their math knowledge as well as their social skills. Instructors will attend summer workshops to obtain Julia computer programming skills and other EB instructional methods, enabling them to effectively utilize EB methods to enhance students’ learning experiences and ultimately improve passing, retention, and graduation rates. The PIs and participating faculty will present project outcomes at regional and national meetings that pertain to mathematics. These include, but are not limited to, Mathematics Association of America and the American Mathematics Society. Project results will also be presented at educational conferences (such as the America Association of Colleges and Universities), at research forums at the university, and at the HBCU-UP/CREST PI meeting.
This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.