Joanna Niezen and Natalia Kouzniak Awarded 2022 Faculty of Science Teaching & Learning Grant

June 13, 2023

Can whiteboard seminars improve academic success in a first-year mathematics course? Our Lecturers Joanna Niezen and Natalia Kouzniak are investigating this question in the MATH 150 seminars. 

In addition to attending lectures, the MATH 150 students work in small groups to solve problem sets on whiteboards at weekly seminars. A team of Calculus Connect Peers provide guidance and problem-solving support at these seminars in order to enhance the students’ learning experience.

The MATH 150 seminars were first piloted in Fall 2019 and yielded promising results: The students experienced lower failure rates and higher averages of grades in MATH 150 compared to previous offerings of the course. After a three year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MATH 150 seminars were restarted this past fall.

Joanna and Natalia were recently awarded a 2022 Faculty of Science Teaching & Learning Grant with co-investigators Sophie Burrill and Jamie Mulholland. Their project will further research the effectiveness and impact of the MATH 150 seminars.

"We are excited to gather more data about the effectiveness of the program from the students' perspective. What aspects do they like about seminars and what aspects do they find the most beneficial to their learning?" Joanna says.

"Additionally, we have surveyed recent Calculus Connect Peer Mentors to see what makes the program successful for the students in their unique perspective, as well as to gain insight about what skills and benefits the peer mentors gain for their own participation."