Presenters: Dr Poh Wah Hillock and Dr Sam Kault (The University of Queensland)

Access to the Seminar Podcast

First year mathematics courses at UQ service more than 45 different programs. Many students are dramatically underprepared for tertiary mathematics. Each year several hundred students fail a first year maths course, with many repeating the course multiple times.  In the first part of the talk, Poh will describe various forms of support for students in three large first year mathematics courses. The support is delivered within the course and incorporates both online and face-to face interactions. A key consideration is the provision of just-in-time help while deploying a range of approaches to reach the diverse student body.   

In the second part of the talk, Sam will discuss a new support initiative implemented in Semester 1, 2017. Sam conducted a series of seven workshops for students commencing their first university-level mathematics course. These were intended as a review of high-school mathematics for students who lacked crucial components of understanding. Topics covered were: Fractions and Factorisation, Powers and Logs, Trigonometry, Derivatives, Integrals, Vectors, and Matrices. The classes were taught from a workbook, with content drawn from areas identified as problematic in previous student cohorts. Sessions were held throughout semester, scheduled so that struggling students could revise high-school level material just before encountering related work in the course. The sessions were highly interactive, with much of the time spent on discussion of illustrative examples. Results from pre and post-tests showed a marked improvement in performance.  

About Teaching and learning seminars

Our teaching and learning seminars focus on innovations and projects that are underway in teaching mathematics, statistics and physics at UQ and other institutions.

We discuss the hot issues, and hear from people who are trying out new things.

Over the past 10 years many new ideas have been generated, collaborations made both within and across disciplines, and teaching grant proposals designed, submitted and received.

Students, staff and visitors to UQ are welcome to attend, and to suggest speakers and topics.

Seminars are usually held fortnightly on Wednesdays from 1pm to 1.50pm.


Parnell Building (7)