Other Event

Online learning and assessment for mathematics and computer science: the future?

John E. GilbertProfessor of MathematicsUniversity of Texas at Austin

along with other flagship public universities, the
University of Texas at Austin currently experiences considerable
pressures, both political and financial. These are felt particularly
acutely in its teaching of freshmen courses like calculus because such
courses are both the entry point and barrier to college success for so
many students. Online learning coupled with course transformation is
often seen as a way to ensure greater student success for a greater
number of students, to overcome lack of college readiness and to speed
a student to quicker degree completion. Use by students in Texas high
schools is contemplated also.

The College of Natural Sciences at UTAustin has developed the Quest
Learning and Assessment platform. It provides students with lectures,
learning modules, interactive animations, videos, online assessments
and access to high
quality problem banks across many subject areas, created by UT
faculty. As I shall describe, these capabilities are integral to
course transformations currently underway or in development in
Biology, Chemistry, Statistics and Calculus. In the course of serving
more than 300,000 students nationwide since 2008 and more than 60,000
students at at UTAustin, Quest has also accumulated a huge 'treasure
trove' of student data – over 140 million student responses and
extensive grading history for the problem banks, as yet largely

The future? I would like to engage the audience in two topics, to
discuss challenges and possible solutions. The first is the
development of appropriate Learning Analytics tools to exploit student
data through personalized learning and assessment, intervention
capabilities etc. Such tools could be invaluable in enhancing student
success as part of a course transformation program. The second is to
extend Quest content to include the more discrete portions of the
mathematics and computer science curricula, at the level of quality
and breadth that it currently has in calculus.

Sponsored by

Yaoyun Shi