University of the Sciences Delivers Engaging Online Learning in STEM While Supporting Faculty Needs

University of the Sciences Delivers Engaging Online Learning in STEM While Supporting Faculty Needs

University of the Sciences Delivers Engaging Online Learning in STEM While Supporting Faculty Needs

Challenge

Faculty in the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Statistics at University of the Sciences wanted to expand online offerings while keeping courses engaging and effective for students. They also had to quickly pivot to online instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift to online learning required faculty to be innovative in delivering courses to ensure continued student engagement.

Solution

Professors Edward Reimers and Amy Kimchuk found that the Möbius platform allowed faculty to work collaboratively to build engaging online courses through a user-friendly platform. Through Möbius, faculty had the flexibility to modify the learning content to teach in a way that fit their individual needs.

Result

The user-friendly platform and the ability to collaborate saved faculty time and allowed them to work together to provide engaging, immersive experiences for students learning complex STEM subjects online. The platform allowed for easy customization of content, problems, and assessments. It has worked so well for faculty and students that it was expanded to be used by all sections of Pre-Calculus, Calculus, College Algebra, and Trigonometry at the University.

Case Study: University of the Sciences Delivers Engaging Online Learning in STEM While Supporting Faculty Needs

The University of Sciences merged with St. Joseph's University in 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced University of the Sciences faculty to roll out online courses quickly. This significant undertaking required a flexible solution supporting faculty and student needs. The University needed a user-friendly platform that would allow faculty to customize content to the way they teach and the needs of their students. Faculty also needed a way to quickly build engaging online content that helped bring complex subjects to life through multi-modal, interactive visualizations.

Möbius supported the process and allowed the University to find a solution that worked well for in-person, hybrid, and online course delivery. The platform allowed the institution to deliver high-quality learning experiences for its math students. Faculty could also collaborate to roll out the courses quickly with pre-built content and share course content, rather than starting from scratch.

Edward Reimers and Amy Kimchuk, faculty in the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Statistics at University of the Sciences, were convinced that expanding the department’s use of Möbius could solve many of the faculty’s challenges. They liked that Möbius provided a user-friendly and secure way for faculty to build and collaborate on course content.

The University originally started working with DigitalEd for student placement testing in 2014. In 2018, the University was looking to expand its online offerings and started using Möbius for Pre-Calculus. They expanded to General Calculus in 2020 when the University needed to move courses online. The feedback on Möbius was so positive that it was expanded to be used by all sections of Pre-Calculus, Calculus, College Algebra, and Trigonometry at the University.

Providing Flexibility For Faculty to Adapt Content to How They Teach

University of the Sciences used DigitalEd’s Möbius platform to provide engaging online learning experiences in mathematics courses while supporting the teaching needs of faculty. Rather than being stuck with a textbook’s standard question set, faculty could adapt content and questions whenever needed.

“We’re all different when we teach,” Kimchuk said. “Which is a good thing about Möbius…Faculty could use the material and teach from it. However, if you want to change the problems, you can change them. Adapting the practice problems to what our faculty wanted the students to do was a lot better.”

For example, a faculty member might like one question in a textbook, but the others might not fit how that faculty member would teach. Möbius gave faculty the flexibility and empowerment to change their content by the week, month or semester without waiting for a textbook to change.

When The Pandemic Hit, Faculty Needed to Shift Classes Online Quickly

 “Luckily, Ed and I had the experience with Möbius, so we could do it,” Kimchuk said. “We were able to build content.”

One of Möbius’ features that Kimchuk and Reimer found invaluable is the ability to collaborate with colleagues. The system allowed faculty to support each other and share ideas on teaching the material.

The automatic grading provided students more practice without additional work for faculty.

Feedback From Students on the Courses Has Been Positive

“Students have mentioned that they like the practice problems,” Kimchuk explained. “The best part is that it’s more interactive. You can look at the sample problems and do it right away.”

“The students I talked to liked the problems and the way the questions were structured,” said Reimer.

Reimer found that the interactive lessons were more concise and provided a better student experience than an hour-long video lecture.

Students could also get more help in areas where they needed additional practice and easily navigate to different sections of lessons.  

“We liked that we could create our own problems and that the students could receive immediate feedback on practice problems,” said Reimer.

An additional benefit is that Möbius is a cost-effective option for students. With Möbius, the students get a year-long license and do not have to purchase other textbooks, which cuts down costs. Reducing costs to the students was an important goal for the faculty.

 “It was saving the students money,” said Reimer. “You have students who come to you and say they can’t do the homework because they can’t afford the book. This is one less problem for students.”

 Expanding The Use of Möbius

The use of Möbius caught on in the department and supported faculty teaching needs while providing an engaging, interactive learning experience for students.

For Reimer and Kimchuk, the most significant benefit of Möbius is that it allows faculty to control the content and teach in a way that best fits them and their students.

“Working with my colleagues was wonderful,” said Reimer. “This is ours; we wrote this content, and being able to present it to the students was a wonderful experience.”