Promoting Numeracy in an Online College Algebra Course through Projects and Discussions

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Samuel Luke Tunstall (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Michael Bossé

Abstract: This research stems from efforts to infuse quantitative literacy (QL) in an online version of college algebra. College algebra fulfills the QL requirement of many college’s general education programs, and is a terminal course for most who take it. In light of the course’s traditional content and teaching methods, students often leave with few QL gains. An online problem-based learning environment provides a unique means of engaging students in quantitative discussions and research, yet little research exists on online courses in the context of QL. This study examined a lecture-based college algebra course versus an online, QL-focused section.Students in each section took the QLRA and responded to an open-ended prompt regarding their mathematical disposition during the first and final weeks of the fall 2014 semester. There were statistically significant gains in the online students’ QLRA performance but none for the face-to-face students. Qualitative analysis of the responses revealed drastic differences in students’ attitudes and their outlook on what utility mathematics has to offer. Implications include that project-based learning in an online environment is a promising strategy for fostering QL in terminal math courses; the study also highlights the need for accountability of QL outcomes in math departments nationwide.

Additional Information

Tunstall, S.L. (2015). Promoting Numeracy in an Online College Algebra Course through Projects and Discussions. Unpublished master's thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2015
Quantitative literacy, alternative assessment, online courses, numeracy, problem- based learning

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