LBW students to reap benefit of grant

Published 2:11 pm Monday, June 1, 2015

LBW Community College was awarded a $40K innovations grant through the Alabama Community College System that will save transitional mathematics students the cost of text books and student codes.

“Our mathematics faculty will create an innovative change in the delivery of three transitional math courses and will ultimately save students cumulatively up to $380,000 a year,” said LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel.

“Presently, the three math courses that constitute our transitional math curriculum are taught as a part of an Emporium model based on National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) course redesign. The students use a software that requires the purchase of a textbook and a code, creating a financial burden on our students and the cost increases each year.”

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The grant makes it possible for three members of the math faculty to work on the project to develop math courses using open source materials, saving students anywhere from $213 to $276 depending on the particular math course they need.

“For a student to complete the series of three courses, the total cost for textbooks and the code for the student is $347. This does not include tuition,” said Riedel.

“The objective is to design these math courses using only open source materials and the present Learning Management Software and lecture capture systems. This will enable our instructors to have more control over the class presentation, but more importantly, be relatively free for students.”

The only cost in addition to tuition is if the student chooses to purchase printed handouts that will also be available free online.

“There are many open source math courses that have been created by math instructors across the nation. Our faculty members are gaining valuable information and assistance from some of them in the design of this project,” said Riedel.

Transitional math courses prepare students for college-level math required for associate degrees and many certificate programs. Approximately 70 percent of incoming freshmen require one or more transitional math courses, based on an assessment that is designed to determine which level of mathematics is most beneficial for them. Project completion is anticipated for spring semester 2016.