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Dissemination

Virginia Tech

How would you assess the transferability of the re-design approach you employed to new subject areas or disciplines?

We believe that versions of the redesigned course could be transferred to other settings. Though the Math Emporium works well at Virginia Tech, the course could be run in a smaller facility or online. We offer a distance-learning version of a course, using proctoring centers for tests, that has already built up an audience of 30 – 40 students around Virginia each summer. Extensions of the topical coverage could make the course appealing to a larger audience beyond the Virginia Tech orbit.

How are you disseminating the re-design among your colleagues?

Faculty colleagues have mixed opinions about the feasibility of computer-based teaching systems and are generally interested in the assessment data, particularly direct results from tests. Faculty meetings within the department are succeeding to a growing extent in making clear the department's stake in finding savings in large enrollment courses. A number of local and national awards, for the Linear Algebra project and the Math Emporium program generally, underlined for our faculty the importance of such a project to the larger educational enterprise.

On a national scale, the Math Emporium program and Linear Algebra have received a great deal of exposure in the press and from Virginia Tech's presentations at professional meetings. Many groups of diverse kinds have visited the facility in Blacksburg; in particular, such institutions as Penn State and the Universities of Connecticut, Alabama, and Idaho have sent teams of six or more faculty and administrators to view the facility and interview our faculty. Some of these institutions are beginning to institute programs modeled at least in part on the Math Emporium.

The largest dissemination effort under the grant was the Partnerships in Learning conference held at the Math Emporium on the weekend of June 23 - 25, 2000. The attendees included 27 mathematics faculty from 14 community colleges across Virginia. The program included presentations, discussions and hands-on workshops on the Linear Algebra project and other innovations involving the Emporium. Discussions were aimed at establishing better ways for Virginia Tech and community college faculty to stay current on innovations that occur too rapidly to be picked up through traditional channels.

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