The “Numeracy Initiative” represents a program that explores the role of the university in helping to support the development of numeracy skills across all subject areas. The program is comprised of both a diagnostic component as well as an intervention component. This initiative has grown out of discussions with faculty across the science and the mathematics and computational sciences departments and it is available to any instructor who wishes to evaluate and or implement strategies to enhance numeracy comprehension.
In an effort to provide more access to our services for students, we will be providing drop-in sessions at the RGASC that will be delivered by a strategist with a significant mathematical teaching background. It is the aim of the RGASC to schedule these drop-in hours during those times in the term when you are delivering material that may benefit from a review of mathematical concepts (i.e., algebraic manipulation of formulae, basic understanding of descriptive statistics, interpreting graphical data, etc.).
These drop-in sessions will provide opportunities for students to meet with the RGASC’s Math and Science Strategists either alone or in small groups (i.e., 5 or fewer) in order to explore strategies to help promote a deeper understanding of foundational material including but not limited to algebraic formulation, basic statistical methods, pre-calculus, and advanced functions. In essence, our support would target high-school mathematical skills, including data management and will not address concepts that are directly part of a university level calculus or formal statistics course. Our Strategists will not take on the role of a course instructor or TA, but rather will provide an informal and confidential setting for students to explore their current approach to learning course material and suggest techniques to facilitate the development of the students’ quantitative reasoning skills. Strategies will focus on process and encourage students to justify their understanding as it applies to a particular method or application and will not dwell on specific responses to assignment questions or course material.
In addition to supporting students through face-to-face or small group appointments, we can also help train your course TAs and assist with assignment design and assessment strategies. Our aim is to customize our support in order to provide you and your students with the most flexible options possible.
Details regarding the drop-in hours will be available by early September, and I will endeavour to match our schedule with your course assignments etc. In effect, I would like to solicit your guidance in establishing a match between assignment schedules and the support drop-in sessions. If you would like to discuss this support model in greater detail, I would be glad to meet with you to respond to your specific questions.
Michael deBraga, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor, Teaching Stream
Numeracy & Scientific Literacy Specialist