WILLISTON, N.D. - Wanda Meyer, WSC's Associate Professor of Mathematics and Title III Project Director, was honored at the state capital, Wednesday, March 29 as part of the Higher Education Legislative Showcase for her work demonstrating innovative use of technology in the delivery of classroom instruction.
Meyer, began teaching the fall of 1982 has been integral in incorporating ALEKS, an alternative learning technology tool, into WSC's Mathematics program.
Upon completion of the initial assessment, ALEKS designs an individualized course shell specific to the student based on knowledge space theory, a pathway that best matches the student's learning pattern for success.
ALEKS has been on campuses across the United Sates for over ten years. Currently, WSC is the only NDUS school to have fully implemented ALEKS. UND is currently in a BETA program.
"ALEKS was recommended to me by our federal consultant when we received the Title III grant in 2012," stated Meyer. "This program began in 2015 and has been so successful at WSC. Our students are succeeding and going into levels that they never thought they could reach. It lets each student learn at his or her own pace and avoids moving ahead if a student is not ready."
Meyer explained that a student's understanding is like a building; if there is a hole in the foundation that is continually built over, problems will eventually arise. ALEKS ensures the foundation and each level after is solid before advancing.
Research has shown that students should spend at least five hour per week per course. This might be during class or at a different time. ALEKS can stop advancing if the program senses a student is in a non-learning atmosphere.
"If a student is tired or is worried about an assignment for his or her next class, this can affect his or her learning," stated Meyer. "If the program senses a student is in a non-learning moment, it can shut down and suggest working at a different time."
Meyer said it is quite common for students to contact her throughout the week and on the weekend to advance in a class. Meyer has made her cell phone available because she understands that the recommended five hours do not always come during classroom hours.
"My students are so accountable," Meyer stated. "I give them freedom and they advance."
Meyer uses ALEKS in three different courses for her students: Preparation for College Algebra, College Algebra, and Trigonometry.
Students who demonstrate mastery before the semester ends can enroll in College Algebra. If they demonstrate mastery in College Algebra, they can enroll in Trigonometry. The pace is set by the students. Upon completion of these three courses, students are prepared to enroll in MATH 165 Calculus I.
During fall 2016, there were 147 WSC students and 62 dual credit students enrolled in the Preparation for College Algebra, College Algebra, and Trigonometry courses using ALEKS. "I am honored to be recognized for the ALEKS success at WSC," state Meyer.
"This program has made a difference with our students. It is keeping up with how this generation learns. Technology is the future and embracing that students learn differently is how we as educators can keep up with the times."
Like ALEKS, WSC also uses EdReady, a personalized study path for students in Mathematics to help with placement, college readiness and ACT / SAT prep. Both are technology tools that WSC is currently utilizing for its students.
For more information on WSC please visit www.willistonstate.edu
call 1.888.863.9455, or stop by 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND.