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Highlands College Students Participate in MOOC


Highlands College faculty, Denise Elakovich and Dr. Elyse Lovell, have joined a national research project in which part of their Math course curriculum involves their students joining in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). The purpose of the research project is to explore a new and unique way for students to succeed in their Math courses.

The national research project involves assisting students enrolled in math by incorporating psychology-based teaching concepts into the math course curricula. Ms. Elakovich, along with faculty members Jeff Draper and Mary Linn Horton, are teaching the math portion of the curriculum and Dr. Lovell is teaching the psychology portion. The national research project and MOOC are headed by Dr. Barbara Oakley, Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering at Oakland University and is using the Coursera platform for the course.

“Dr. Lovell and I are very excited about this grand experiment to help our students with their Math coursework,” said Ms. Elakovich, who serves as the Chair of the Department of General Studies at Highlands College. “It’s not just the Math concepts which are barriers to students’ success in their Math courses. It’s also their problematic perception of Math and its difficulty that are barriers as well. Combining Math and Psychology is a genuinely new and different way to help our students.”

The MOOC portion of the course is completely online. The most recent report revealed that there are 223,832 students from across the country enrolled in Dr. Oakley’s MOOC. With common assessments among this large number of students, credible data can be gathered regarding the value and efficacy of teaching math in combination with the psychology concepts.

“Research has shown that over half of two-year college students enroll in developmental math courses each semester,” said Dr. Lovell. “Our plan for this new process is to empower students with learning techniques that will propel students’ motivation, determination and understanding to learn higher level math.”

For any further information about this or any other topic involving Montana Tech or Highlands College, please contact Amanda Badovinac at 406-496-4828 or Dr. John M. Garic at 406-496-3714.

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