Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): Faculty of Mathematics launches leveling course open to UC freshmen

The UC School of Mathematics has developed a support tool that allows first-year students to review and understand basic mathematics content, essential for understanding their university courses.

“We understand that learning in secondary education, during the preceding two years, was affected by the pandemic. This implies that there are some gaps in the management of concepts, insecurities and weak domain in some topics that directly affect the understanding or successful progress in university mathematics courses. We wanted to take charge of this, developing this self-study platform available to all first-year students who are studying a mathematical branch”, explains Gabriela Fernández, Director of Teaching at the Faculty of Mathematics .

The Basic Mathematics Leveling course is now available on the Canvas board for all UC career rookies who have a math course in the first semester . It is an anonymous program, without external evaluations, which can be approached linearly -module by module, class by class- or by specifically selecting the skill or content that is required to review or level.

“We understand that learning in secondary education, during the preceding two years, was affected by the pandemic. This implies that there are some gaps in the management of concepts, insecurities and weak command of some topics that directly affect understanding or successful progress in university mathematics courses” – Gabriela Fernández, Director of Teaching at the Faculty of Mathematics

The course has 4 global modules: Algebra of Real Numbers; Equations of first and second degree; Geometry of Coordinates and Functions. Each module is divided into classes described according to their objective, to facilitate the choice of content by the student. Each class has an exercise guide, as a self-assessment, which allows the review of the results. In case of errors or doubts, each exercise has a tutorial video where the problem is solved step by step, until the correct result is reached.

“The recommendation is that they try to solve each problem, that they develop it on their sheet, so that once they check the result and watch the video, they can identify where the error is. It is like a test that you can deliver as many times as you want. The idea is not that they do not make mistakes, but that they take advantage of the tool to understand the process. In addition, exposing yourself to the test situation several times can be useful to reduce anxiety when real evaluations correspond to them, “says Vania Ramírez, professor at the Faculty of Mathematics.

The course has 4 global modules: Algebra of Real Numbers; Equations of first and second degree; Geometry of Coordinates and Functions.

In relation to the contents, the teacher clarifies that “it is not about reinforcing the courses they are taking, but about leveling the previous tools that will allow them to correctly reach the final result. It is not a review of the school subject, but a selection of topics or knowledge from seventh grade to fourth grade, which enable them to take university pre-calculus and, therefore, subsequent Calculus courses, ”she explains.

For Dean Mario Ponce, this initiative is in line with the efforts that the UC School of Mathematics has made in leveling and support, through high-impact initiatives such as the University Mathematics Induction Program, PIMU UC. This is a pioneering initiative that, since 2013, has contributed to improving the passing rates of mathematics courses in the first year, through the application of a massive diagnostic test, open to all students entering the UC, which allows knowing how prepared they are for their initial courses in mathematics and offering free leveling and support instances.

“This initiative is in line with the efforts that the UC Faculty of Mathematics has made in leveling and support, through high-impact initiatives such as the University Mathematics Induction Program, PIMU UC” – Dean Mario Ponce

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