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Project #47

Meeting (and Exceeding) Student Goals in Mathematics and Statistics

The primary goal of the Mathematics and Statistics Technology-Supported Redesign Project was to create an emporium style classroom space to facilitate hybrid and partially online mathematics and statistics courses, and redesign five courses to allow students to proceed more quickly through requirements. This project, while located in the Mathematics and Statistics Department, primarily serves the broader campus community.


  • Redesigned 5 courses: online STAT 243, 244 (Introduction to Statistics), online MTH 251, flipped MTH 111, and emporium MTH 70.
  • Led the design and implementation of an emporium-style computer classroom space moving from the existing Neuberger Hall 461 and 465 computer lab to the renovated Neuberger Hall 96 classroom for delivery of redesigned courses.


The emporium model for MTH 70 has given students a greater opportunity to engage in more material than the traditional course, providing them with a better grounding to be successful in subsequent courses.  Also the passing rate increased significantly by almost 10%.  This effectively countered the negative impact of math placement, which forced the least prepared students into the lowest course we teach, initially decreasing the pass rate. The emporium model increased the pass rate to over 80%. We have begun an expansion of the emporium model to other entry-level “remedial” courses.

Desire2Learn (D2L) shells are now in place with banks of activities for use by Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) teaching MTH 111.  Some GTAs have made very good use of this resource. In addition, some GTAs have added more activities that they have developed.  The project also initiated the use of more standardized online homework assignments across all MTH 111 sections and created videos to replace and support some classroom lecture.  The initial class that used these resources showed an increase in the passing rate.

An effective comparative analysis of grade data for online STAT 243 & 244 was hindered by external factors impacting the other sections of STAT 243 & 244.  The implementation of the math placement requirements in January 2011 caused a mass exodus of students back to the community colleges to take statistics.  At the same time, class sizes of the face-to-face STAT 243 & 244 were increasing from 40 to 250, exacerbating that exodus and also lowering student success rates.  As such, measuring the effectiveness of a new online course sequence becomes difficult. The pass rates for the online sections were significantly below that of other sections.  The online STAT 244 had an average passing rate of 87% with small class sizes pre 2014. Class sizes were increased to a cap of 75 starting in the Fall of 2014. The average passing rate plummeted to 65%. With the new curriculum in place the passing rate last quarter increased even with a larger class of 53 students to 85%.

The students who took the online MTH 251 class were strong, having just taken 112 or done well on the math placement test.  The vast majority of students were PSU students who took the courses because of the time flexibility. In the initial course, passing rates were low, but not the lowest of all sections of MTH 251 that term.  Success did increase for the follow-up MTH 252 course, but were still well below the average university passing rate.  Passing rates continue to be in 60% range for online MTH 251. Students who engage in all the required online activities do learn the material well.


For more information, please see the project End-of-Project Report, Project Artifacts and Final Expenditure Report.


  • Rachel Webb - Senior Instructor, Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Joyce O’Halloran - Professor, Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics and Statistics


  • Marek Elzanowski, Mathematics and Statistics Department Chair
  • Johannes De Gruyter, Executive Director, Office of Academic Innovation
  • Joyce O’Halloran, Professor
  • Joe Ediger, Senior Instructor
  • Austina Fong, Instructor
  • Sylvia Giroux, Senior Instructor
  • Rachel Webb, Project Lead and Senior Instructor
  • Paul Latiolais, Professor
  • Aifang Gordon, Instructional Designer, Office of Academic Innovation
  • Vincent “Vince” Schreck, Instructional Designer, Office of Academic Innovation



Project Management Plan

Project Plan

Status Reports

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Original Proposal