DLIAward Winner Oregon State University

Concurrent Session 9

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

DLIAward Winner

Category:   Faculty-Led Team Award

Courseware Platform:  ALEKS

The success or failure of students taking developmental math courses, typically courses considered prerequisites to college level math, has a very strong influence on subsequent student retention.  Often times, students who have failed a developmental math course will simply attempt to take the same course again with little differing result.  We are addressing student success and completion of developmental math courses by taking on a new approach tailored to today's online-savvy students.  We had been using a traditional course model of lectures, homework, and exams, but student success was unsatisfactory.  We implemented the use of Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces, or ALEKS, an online adaptive learning solution, to meet these students needs and increase their success.  The traditional classroom has been replaced with one where students work individually in a computer lab, with the aid of an instructor, only on the topics that they need to review and practice.  ALEKS adaptively learns what areas the students have mastered and what areas they need more practice, and tailors the lessons accordingly.  If a student fails, when they retake the course, ALEKS recognizes their past progress and essentially starts from that point, rather than forcing a complete restart of already-mastered material.  Overall, the objective is to increase student retention and success by minimizing the amount of time they spend taking developmental math.


After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Pacific Lutheran University, Sara Clark returned to her home state to continue her academic pursuits at Oregon State University. She received a Master’s degree in Mathematics with an emphasis on Education in 1999 and since then, she has held various instructor and course-development positions at Linn Benton Community College and Oregon State University. She has taught a wide variety of undergraduate courses, ranging from developmental math to vector calculus. Her career has spanned the evolution from traditional in-person lectures, to wholly online courses; she is currently helping to develop a new adaptive learning approach, utilizing in-person and online digital resources, to teaching developmental and pre-calculus math courses. She was a recipient of a 2016 Digital Learning Innovation Award from the Online Learning Consortium. Sara lives in Corvallis, Oregon with her husband, Ben, of 20 years and their 13-year-old daughter, Paige.



Extended Abstract

Oregon State is a leading public research university located in Corvallis, one of the safest, smartest, greenest small cities in the nation.Founded in 1868, Oregon State is the state's Land Grant university and is one of only two universities in the U.S. to have Sea Grant, Space Grant and Sun Grant designations. As Oregon's leading public research university, with $308.9 million in external funding in the 2015 fiscal year, Oregon State's impact reaches across the state and beyond.With 11 colleges, 15 Agricultural Experiment Stations, 35 county Extension offices, the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport and OSU-Cascades in Bend, Oregon State has a presence in every one of Oregon's 36 counties, with a statewide economic footprint of $2.232 billion.