AMATYC RECOMMENDATIONS ON DISTANCE EDUCATION IN COLLEGE MATHEMATICS COURSES IN THE FIRST TWO YEARS
The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) recognizes that technology is readily available to most faculty and a rapidly growing number of students and that its use in mathematics education will continue to offer an ever-expanding window of opportunity to the college students of the 21st century. Distance education can facilitate the mission and goals of two-year colleges by providing an added opportunity for lifelong learning when a traditional delivery method is not a viable option and by providing an alternative learning mode in response to the needs of students both locally and regionally. Distance education modalities include print, audio teleconferencing, radio, audiocassettes, videoconferencing, videocassettes, computers, online via the web, and other multimedia and interactive options. Course delivery may be synchronous or asynchronous. Regardless of the method of distance education delivery, institutions must ensure a sound learning environment when implementing distance education strategies, and to this purpose AMATYC makes the following recommendations.
- Mathematics distance education programs must be carefully planned. Special attention must be directed to the needs and abilities of students and faculty. Distance education courses provide students with learning opportunities that may not have previously existed but these courses are not appropriate for all students or all instructors.
- Faculty expectations of students enrolled in mathematics distance education courses must be clear. Mathematics faculty should make clear the expectation that students enrolled in distance education mathematics classes must be active learners who are strongly motivated and self-disciplined, participate and interact in class activities regularly, and turn in course assignments on time, just as would be expected of students who attend on-campus classes.
- Access and equity must be considered when providing opportunities for distance education. Mathematics is an integral part of all programs of study and so it is especially important that all students who could benefit from distance education opportunities in mathematics have access to them. The technology selected for a distance education course should be fully accessible and understandable to students enrolled in the course. Efforts should be made to maximize student access to the technology and appropriate support services.
- Training and support for mathematics distance education providers must be part of any distance education program. Colleges should provide continuous and relevant training and ongoing support as an integral part of their distance education program. This will allow faculty to focus on delivery of course content.
- Distance education programs must maintain high standards. Mathematics courses provide a large part of the basis for learning in many other courses and disciplines. Therefore, students should be encouraged to justify their answers and explain their thinking. Additionally, if exams are used in a course, measures such as proctoring should be taken to ensure that the student taking the exam is the student who is receiving the grade and that the integrity of the exam is maintained.
Innovative Teaching and Learning Committee
Adopted Fall 2002 / Revised April 2011