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STEM at School

Students Empowering Students in STEM at 4Cs

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By Jade Francis

For students who are struggling with a math course, or for those who may need to brush up on their math skills, there is now a Math Refresher shell offered on every student’s Moodle page. This resource is being funded by STEM Starter Academy. The modules were created by some of Cape Cod Community College’s (4Cs) leading STEM students.

In the past, 4Cs has offered material and workshops for incoming students to prepare for math courses. This Math Refresher offers returning students a chance to practice math that they will be studying in an upcoming course, or practice work outside of their current math class.

“We created this and hired a couple of student supplemental instruction leaders to be able to create some math modules,” said Kate Condon, the Supplemental Instruction Coordinator and adjunct faculty member. “When a student is signed up for a class they can come and check out these modules, get ready before the class begins, and be more likely to be more successful in the math course.”

Currently, modules for College Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Calculus 1, and Calculus 2 are available. These modules contain material students should know before starting the class, along with practice work for the course.

“There’s also embedded videos, and these videos are from all over the internet but they’ve been curated by our students to be the best ones.” Condon said. “So, the students that we hired were actually our upper-level math students who know our math faculty, who know our courses because they’ve just taken them, and in fact, they actually used a lot of their own learning materials to help develop these.”

Much of the content in the Math Refresher page is created by students. There are extra practice problems offered when a student gets a question wrong. These extra problems were constructed by students too.

To gauge what math course placement would best fit a student, they are required to take the Accuplacer test. Sometimes students don’t place into a high enough math class for their liking, so they decide to retake the test. To aid aiming for a higher score, the Math Refresher page also has material for Accuplacer studying.

“Also, coming up soon, will be another section of math modules that are not for advanced math.” said Condon. At the moment the only math modules are for STEM math courses. In the future, there will be modules for Quantitative Reasoning and Elementary Statistics, two entry level college math classes.