The College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at UMBC, the University System of Maryland (USM) and Ithaka S+R sponsored an investigation during the summers of 2013 and 2014 that invited eligible students to take measures to strengthen their understanding of key algebraic topics in one of two ways to help improve their academic success in college. Eligible students received a letter from CNMS Dean William R. LaCourse inviting them to participate in the eQUBS study over four weeks during the summer. All eligible students* who consented to participate received the following benefits at no expense:
- Enrollment in a free, four-week, zero-credit PRAC 101 summer course with all students receiving a pass regardless of their participation level,
- Access to a Blackboard site with a list of the topics of key topics in algebra to review,
- A limited opportunity to retake the math placement test via the Blackboard site with the policy waived that requires the most recent score to replace a prior score, and
- Special advising to help the students decide if they should change their schedules–if there is significant improvement in their math placement scores.
Participants were randomly sorted into one of two groups:
Group 1 – students were enrolled in an online math developmental course guided by an instructor at UMBC
Group 2 – students were encouraged to study key algebraic topics that they may need to master on their own
All participants helped UMBC and CNMS investigate how online programs in mathematics may or may not impact student academic success. Students could opt out of eQUBS at any time
The eQUBS investigation is planned to continue at UMBC during Summer 2015.
This study has been approved by the UMBC Institutional Review Board – Y14WL26177 – May 14, 2014 to May 13, 2015.
* Students who were less than 18-years-old when completing the consent forms were required to garner approval from a parent or guardian.