UCF’s MALL Gets a Redesign to Better Help Students

The Mathematical Sciences building houses the MALL for lectures and completing homework.

The Mathematics Assistance and Learning Lab (MALL) at UCF is a state-of-the-art math lab that has redesigned its program to help students understand mathematical topics more extensively.

Located in the Mathematical Science building on UCF’s main campus, the MALL is where students who are enrolled in “Intermediate Algebra” and “College Algebra” meet for class. Students taking “Pre-Calculus” and “College Trigonometry” also use the MALL to work on class assignments. The purpose of the MALL is to give students a higher chance at achieving success in classes and exams by teaching them through methods like hands-on learning and one-on-one assistance.

In Spring 2015, the Dean hired external consultants to examine the functionality of the MALL and to devise ways for improvement. After listening to feedback from the external consultants, students and faculty, in Spring 2016, the transformation of the MALL started in order to offer better functionality and provide a higher academic retention.

The changes that made the biggest impact on the student performance are the restructuring of all four courses and the revision of the curriculum.

The instructional staff in the lab is a balanced blend between the graduate learning assistants and the undergraduate teaching assistants, many of them are previous students who were successful in the classes they help teach.

Joseph Magloire is a UCF graduate and current employee at the MALL. He said that the MALL always gave him a place to receive immediate help with his courses, and now he wants to be that same guiding light for his students.

“I like to think that I am helping to bring out each individual students’ unknown strengths and capabilities to the surface,” Malgorie said. “I am the connector between the content of the math course and the students’ grasping of it all.”

A teaching assistant helps a student work on their assignment at the MALL.

For Intermediate Algebra and College Algebra, MALL has also implemented new software to help determine where students are struggling. The Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) uses adaptive questioning to accurately determine what a student knows and needs assistance with in a course, then instructs the student on topics they are ready to learn, according to the ALEKS official website.

“The synergy of the ALEKS program together with the redesigned Emporium Model for intermediate and college algebra has contributed to its increased success,” said Dr. Xin Li, chair of the department of Mathematics. “The main reason for this success is because students get so much practice.”

The MALL redesign also allows students in “Intermediate Algebra” or “College Algebra” to work ahead by completing two or more courses in the same semester.

The purpose of these improvements has been to raise the passing rate and provide guidance towards success. The MALL is currently looking for more skilled employees, and listening to student feedback to make even more positive changes.

If you are interested in working at the MALL, applications may be found on the official MALL website.

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