Mathematical and statistical skills underpin students’ success in many university courses. Australia wide there are challenges faced by every tertiary institution as students enter the university with diverse mathematics backgrounds and skills. Inadequate mathematical skills leave students ill equipped to handle the mathematics rich courses in which they enroll. These students need mathematics learning support that is often difficult to provide due to scarce resources. To address this issue the University of Wollongong (UoW) has developed the necessary infrastructure and initiated a Share World collection of mathematics and statistics learning support video resources. These resources, available under a Creative Commons license, are accessible through Content Without Borders: .
The Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) project driving these developments is ‘Building leadership capacity in the development and sharing of mathematics learning resources across disciplines and universities’ (LE8-783) undertaken by UoW and partner institution CQUniversity (CQU). Building leadership capacity involved developing leaders who could engage others who in turn could engage others. Communication processes were vital in engaging others. Two symposia, workshops, open meetings, and papers presented in many forums have led to the development of skills in staff at many institutions necessary for the creation of a variety of video resources. These include worked examples, theory refreshers, stimulus materials, demonstrations, orientation and motivational videos. Over 500 videos have been contributed for mathematics, statistics, and mathematics-rich disciplines such as science and engineering.
To facilitate staff development of resources, institutions need to provide staff with access to appropriate technologies. The project team recommends access to tablet PCs and screen capture software. These tools have proved cost effective. The faculties and departments involved have experienced a cultural shift as staff investigates new learning designs for teaching mathematics. The videos have been used to support the work of mathematics learning development staff, to provide learning support within e-learning sites, to resource HeadStart modules, video tutorials, bridging programs and development of online modules of study. Student learning outcomes have improved as these developments have taken place.
Through the project, the technical and legal issues associated with hosting a repository behind a firewall and allowing external access to the collection have been addressed. Given that universities have different intellectual property rights associated with teaching materials, a Memorandum of Understanding between UoW and other potential contributory institutions has been drawn up and distributed to Deputy Vice Chancellors (Academic, or equivalent) and Deans/Heads of mathematics departments throughout Australia to facilitate and encourage the sharing of resources.
- capacity building,
- learning resources,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/aporter/20/