Tag Archives: conference talk

Opening Gateways: Supporting Success in STEM through Success in Gateway Mathematics

CUNY CUE Conference 2019
May 10, 2019
New York City College of Technology’s new Academic Complex, 285 Jay Street

Presenters:  Jonas Reitz, Charlie Edwards, Laura Ghezzi, Andrew Parker

Abstract: “Opening Gateways to Completion: Open Digital Pedagogies for Student Success in STEM” is a 5 year collaborative grant between the New York City College of Technology and the Borough of Manhattan Community College funded through the Department of Education’s Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (Title V) program.  The project supports student success in mathematics courses that serve as gateways to STEM disciplines, courses that often act as barriers to progress and completion in these disciplines. Cohorts of full-time and part-time faculty from both campuses take part in an intensive professional development seminar, where they are exposed to active learning strategies, open digital pedagogies, multiplayer and flipped classroom techniques, games in the classroom, WeBWorK, Desmos and much more.

An ecosystem of high-quality OERs support the pedagogy of our participants. WeBWorK, an open source alternative to expensive and proprietary online homework systems, serves as a platform for the development of problems and problem sets aligned with the curriculum, with customized feedback and error-recognition.  At City Tech, additional development has bridged WeBWorK and the OpenLab: students seeking help on WeBWorK are directed to an OpenLab community space where they can ask and answer questions. Classroom activities and STEM applications developed by our participants, and a curated collection of resources such as online videos, round out our OER ecosystem.

Join us to learn more about our professional development model and see first hand some of the exciting OERs, activities and STEM applications developed and utilized by our participants for Algebra and Precalculus courses.

WeBWorK on the OpenLab:  Leveraging City Tech’s open digital platform to create a community space for homework help

Venue: Mathematics Association of America (MAA)
Metro New York Section, 2019 Annual Meeting
New York City College of Technology, May 4, 2019

Presenters:  Andrew Parker, Charlie Edwards, Jonas Reitz

Abstract: WeBWorK, an open-source online homework system supported by the MAA and the NSF, provides a platform for students to practice and engage with their mathematics studies.   WeBWorK offers a number of advantages over traditional pencil-and-paper homework, including instant, customized feedback and error-recognition. But how do we help students when they get stuck? At City Tech a team of faculty and developers has worked to bridge WeBWorK and the OpenLab, our open digital platform for teaching, learning and collaboration.  Students seeking help on a WeBWorK problem are directed to an OpenLab community space where they can review answers to previous questions about their problem or ask their own. By moving the conversations around homework help into a public space we increase transparency, reducing the repetitious explanations that can occur in one-on-one support models, such as email, where many students can ask very similar questions, each requiring a near-identical response from the instructor.

Want to bring this technology to your own institution? We will discuss how you can set up your own OpenLab, free, through Commons in a Box OpenLab, and our planned release of the WeBWorK OpenLab bridge.

Join us to learn more and see the project in action.


Opening Gateways through WeBWorK: Expanding the power of online homework to build engagement and support student learning

Venue: Mathematics Association of America (MAA)
Metro New York Section, 2019 Annual Meeting
New York City College of Technology, May 4, 2019

Presenters:  Andrew Parker, Marianna Bonanome, Ariane Masuda, Jonas Reitz

Abstract:  WeBWorK provides a powerful platform for online homework, freely available and open source.  At City Tech, more than a decade of experience with WeBWorK has provided many opportunities to experiment with existing features, explore new functionality, and develop new tools that extend the reach and scope of the WeBWorK system.  

In addition to developing high-quality problems and problem sets aligned with the curriculum, our work makes frequent use of customized feedback and error-recognition, providing guidance without giving away too much about the expected result.  Cutting edge features such as scaffolded problems provide ongoing support to students as they progress through multi-step solutions, and Just-In-Time problem sets adapt to student behavior, providing practice at the point of greatest need. Integration of GeoGebra, another open source mathematics platform, into WeBWorK problems provides a rich visual dimension to mathematical problem-solving.  Finally, the development of our WeBWorK leaderboards project brings the motivating principles of game-based learning to the WeBWorK platform, with exciting preliminary results.

Join us in this session as we share a multitude of examples as well as lessons learned and best practices for WeBWorK development.