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  Position Statement of the AMERICAN MATHEMATICAL ASSOCIATION OF TWO-YEAR COLLEGES on

Distance Education in College Mathematics in the First Two Years

 

For the purposes of this position statement, Distance Education (DE) shall be defined as follows: “Education that uses one or more technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor synchronously or asynchronously.”[1]

The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) provides leadership in improving mathematics education regardless of the delivery method. AMATYC’s IMPACT advocates for “increased student engagement to boost retention and provide more productive and successful online learning environments.”[2]

Recognizing that DE mathematics courses are becoming more prevalent in the first two years of college, institutions must maintain high standards and use research-based practices when designing DE courses. While DE courses provide students with learning opportunities that may not have previously existed, these courses may not be appropriate for all students nor all instructors.[3] DE requires alternative teaching and learning methods. Special attention must be directed to the needs and abilities of both students and faculty.

To this purpose AMATYC makes the following recommendations.

Planning, Support, and Maintenance

Colleges should provide:

  • Ongoing training and support for faculty and students as an integral part of the DE program.
  • Proper infrastructure, including accessible testing centers and well-trained support staff for the Learning Management System (LMS) and other DE-specific systems.
  • Support for innovative tools and best practices.
  • Equivalent supports for students in DE courses when compared to students in on-campus courses.

Expectations for Instructors

Instructors of DE courses should strive to:

  • Stay informed of and implement current best practices in DE through professional development.
  • Interact with and support students through regular and substantive communication.
  • Work to continuously improve the DE course and student experience.
  • Give timely and relevant feedback on student learning.
  • Clearly convey course expectations to students.

Expectations for Students

Students enrolled in DE mathematics courses should:

  • Be active learners who are strongly motivated and self-disciplined.
  • Participate in class activities consistently.
  • Interact with the instructor and other students regularly in a substantive way.
  • Turn in course assignments on time.

Instructional Design

Course design should be informed by a wide variety of resources and best practices for DE. Well-designed DE mathematics courses will have these attributes:

  • The course design addresses established course competencies with appropriate quality and mathematical rigor.[4]
  • Course objectives and instructor expectations are clearly communicated.[5]
  • Assessments measure student achievement of the learning objectives.[6]
  • A variety of activities and instructional materials promote frequent and substantive engagement with the content, other students, and faculty.
  • Course tools and activities support the learning objectives.

Access and Equity

Since mathematics is an integral part of so many programs of study, it is especially important that all students who could benefit from distance education opportunities in mathematics have access to them. Efforts should be made to maximize student access to DE mathematics courses and all such courses should be ADA compliant to ensure they are fully accessible to all students enrolled in the course.

Standards and Integrity

Mathematical thinking and processes aid in the problem-solving skills needed for success in many programs and disciplines. To this end, DE courses must maintain the same rigor and scope of work as mathematics courses of the same title, regardless of delivery format. Security measures such as the proctoring of exams, as outlined in the AMATYC Position Statement on Proctored Testing for Courses Taught at a Distance,[7] should be implemented.

 

Approved at the Delegate Assembly

November 16, 2019


Sources

American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) (2018). IMPACT: Improving Mathematical Prowess And College Teaching. Memphis, TN: AMATYC.

American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) (2012). Position Statement: Proctored Testing for Courses Taught at a Distance. Memphis, TN: AMATYC.

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines, Version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: CAST.

Heather Kauffman, “A review of predictive factors of student success in and satisfaction with online learning,” Research in Learning Technology, 23: 26507 (August 2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v23.26507.

 

International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) (2011). National Standards for Quality Online Courses, Version 2. Vienna, VA: iNACOL.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (2018). Digest of Education Statistics, 2016, Appendix B. Washington, D.C.: NCES, https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16/app_b.asp#d.

 

Online Education Initiative (OEI) (2016). OEI Course Design Rubric. Sacramento, CA: California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

Online Learning Consortium (OLC) (2016). OLC Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs. Newburyport, MA: OLC.

Quality Matters (QM) (2015). Course Design Rubric Standards, 2nd edition. Annapolis, MD: QM.

State University of New York (SUNY) & Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence (2013). Open SUNY Course Quality Review (OSCQR) Rubric and Process. Albany, NY: SUNY.


[1] National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (2018). Digest of Education Statistics, 2016, Appendix B. Washington, D.C.: NCES, https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16/app_b.asp#d.

[2] American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) (2018). IMPACT: Improving Mathematical Prowess And College Teaching. (Memphis, TN: AMATYC), 47.

[3] Heather Kauffman, “A review of predictive factors of student success in and satisfaction with online learning,” Research in Learning Technology, 23: 26507 (August 2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v23.26507.

[4] Quality Matters (QM) (2015). Course Design Rubric Standards, 2nd edition. Annapolis, MD: QM.

[5] Quality Matters.

[6] Quality Matters.

[7] American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) (2012). Position Statement: Proctored Testing for Courses Taught at a Distance. Memphis, TN: AMATYC.

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