DLIAward Winner Fisher College

Concurrent Session 9

Brief Abstract

DLI Award Winner

Category:  Faculty-Led Team Award

Courseware Platform:  Cengage Learning's Enhanced WebAssign

We at Fisher College were determined to find better ways to help our students in developmental mathematics courses master required math skills and successfully complete their mathematics coursework.  The College determined that serving this population was a priority because Over 65% of incoming students each year placed into a developmental math course These students had experienced failures in mathematics courses before college Developmental math students were at risk of failing in mathematics courses in college All students were and are required to successfully complete one college-level mathematics course to fulfill bachelor's degree requirements. In fall 2012, we commenced Project ASCEND (Advanced System of Collaborative E-learning Numeracy Development) with a plan of using a digital courseware solution to help our developmental math students to master skills. We introduced Cengage Learning's Enhanced WebAssign (EWA), an online homework support framework that provides student access to mathematics curricular content and delivers feedback on homework. EWA engages the students in their math problems by providing quizzes and instant detailed feedback while guaranteeing they achieve mastery of concepts without gaps in learning that may undo their success.  EWA worked so well its use spread from developmental math classes to use in almost every mathematics course in the College.  Beginning in winter 2016, we combined modular courses and tutoring with EWA for certain developmental math students and courses. All participants in the new initiative have passed their coursework.  The project has had additional benefits to students including a major reduction in textbook costs.

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Extended Abstract

Established in 1903, Fisher College is a small, private, 4-year nonprofit institution of higher education whose main campus is in Boston, MA. Our mission is to provide our students with the knowledge and skills necessary for a lifetime of intellectual and professional pursuits. The College offers bachelor's degrees in 24 areas of study along with a master's degree in business administration. Fisher College is a small school by design with a total enrollment of about 2,000 students. Our students come to us because we provide them with a degree of community and personalization that is rarely found in today's higher education. This personalization is made possible by our low student-teacher ratios: the ratio of full-time undergraduate day students to full-time faculty in Academic Year 2016 was 16 to 1.  We strive to create a family atmosphere and believe in each student's potential to succeed academically, personally, and professionally.