Multimedia-enhanced developmental mathematics for postsecondary culturally diverse students
Belfi, Marcie Merinda
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Students who are not ready for college must take developmental courses, predominately in math more than reading or writing, because of the need to pass high school algebra as a prerequisite to gain entrance to college. Students who take developmental courses are predominately from minority ethnic backgrounds or from low- income families. These students often have documented learning disabilities (LD) or have been overlooked by the education system. The use of multimedia in the classroom can offer these students various methods for learning, as well as individualized instruction. The present study compares a multimedia-enhanced (MME) developmental mathematics course that has a mandatory attendance requirement to a course that teaches the same curriculum in a lecture-based format. A mixed-methods comparative analysis pretest posttest quasi-experimental design was used to compare student performance on a posttest and final exam between students taught in the MME section and students taught in the lecture-based section. A course survey was conducted to compare student satisfaction between the two conditions. Interviews were conducted to gather students’ perceptions of the barriers and facilitators to learning in both conditions, as well as to determine students’ past experiences with mathematics learning and their dispositions towards mathematics learning in general. The results showed that there were no statistically significant differences in student performance on the posttest and final exam between the students taught in the MME section and the students taught in the lecture-based section. There was no statistically significant difference in student satisfaction between the two sections. The barriers included the short amount of time for the summer course and lack of technology skills. The facilitators included: (a) helpful instructor, (b) supplementary videos provided by faculty member, (c) collaboration with peers, (d) examples in the software showing how to work the problems, (e) step-by-step instructions, (f) portability of the course, (g) ability to print from the lab, (h) working in the lab, (i) working at own pace, (j) access to the textbook online, and (k) opportunities for practice. These results are discussed in further detail and implications for practice and further research are also considered.