Julie Phelps, professor of mathematics

picture“Today, there are many free online resources that can be used to enhance students’ learning.

Unfortunately, these materials are not all created equal! The goal of this project is to provide our students with the technology tools needed to create student-led tutorials that support Valencia College algebra content. Engaging in this activity helps students see the relevance (usefulness) or importance of what they are learning.”

Julie Phelps, professor of mathematics, is using the Raymer F. Maguire, Jr., teaching chair to combine the three strategies that she is currently using to assist the front-door (first year) mathematics students while bringing down the cost of textbooks.

First, Valencia East campus math faculty created an on-demand website called math help 24/7. “A student created on-demand tutorial would be a perfect addition. This project would help to obtain the necessary technology for student-created tutorials. Also, I am currently using a Valencia faculty-written free online textbook. These resources could help faculty create interactive worksheets to support the free online textbook. Last, I would like to create an online lesson that connects to the psychological interventions (i.e. mindset and utility value) designed to increase student performance and interest in mathematics,” adds Professor Phelps.

The student-led tutorial serves a dual purpose. First, in the term the student creates the tutorial, this video will serve as an alternate assessment to a pencil/paper test on the same topic or unit. Second, if the student-created video is a high quality video, then the video will be a permanent addition the online tutorials already online for all future students taking the course.  “While I was describing this project to the current students, the idea that they could put on their resume that they contributed to Valencia College online tutorial resources and they can share the link, was tremendously exciting.”

Professor Phelps will design a lesson that requires each student to “teach” an algebraic topic. These lessons will be graded, and if they are sound in theory, the student-led tutorial will be included as a supplement to the textbook for future students to use.

She will also create tutorials to demonstrate how other faculty can use these resources to create interactive worksheets which will recruit front-door educators who can implement these interventions.

And finally, she will assess her psychological online intervention learning outcomes by collaborating with an external researcher regarding the best delivery of these interventions to students.

Valencia algebra courses have a course outcome which requires the “use of technology tools” and a course outcome calling for the “use of applications emphasizing connections with other disciplines and with the real world.”

Additionally, Think, Valencia’s core competency, is defined as “thinking critically, and creatively, analyzing, synthesizing, integrating and evaluating.” This competency explains the level necessary to design a math content tutorial. The potential of motivating students to teach content using technology is great way to assess student learning while inspiring them to contribute to our academic digital community. The opportunity to influence student outcomes (i.e. decreasing course drop rates, increasing math interest, and increasing gateway mathematics course success rates) by implementing the psychological interventions will provide students with potentially life-changing attitudes.

 Professor Phelps holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, a master’s degree from UCF, and a doctorate, also from UCF.


See also this blog post from December 2, discussing the group project: http://bit.ly/1T1W63z




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