Promoting Cooperative Learning in a Mathematics Laboratory

Dr. William Fenton
Dr. John Oppelt
Dr. Marian Robbins

Department of Mathematics
Bellarmine College
Louisville, KY 40205,

Grant Number: DUE: 9750814

Our Department has in recent years taught many of its courses with computer activities and cooperative learning. However, the existing facilities on our campus were unsuitable for our needs. Our grant proposal emphasized designing a computer laboratory which would not only allow cooperative learning, but would encourage it.

In our design we considered how to support many things, such as: group discussions, sharing computers, space to work without a computer, instructor access to student computers, and visibility across the room for students and instructor. Many possible configurations were considered. Ultimately we combined ideas from several sources. Diagrams and photographs of our design will be included in our poster.

Preliminary indications are encouraging. Group discussions are occurring naturally due to the seating arrangement. The instructor is easily able to maneuver around the room. It is easy to integrate computer tasks into other work, yet the computer does not interfere when not needed. Every student can clearly see the presentations at the front of the room and the instructor has a clear view of all students as they work. A more formal evaluation will tell us if we have achieved our goals, but for now we are very pleased with the new facility.

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