Set up for success: Student support for statistics and calculus moves online

The Decima Robinson Support Centre is offering many virtual resources for undergraduate students studying mathematics and statistics.

Katie Willis - 7 July 2020

For nearly a decade, undergraduate students taking 100- and 200-level courses in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences have received crucial support through the Decima Robinson Support Centre (DRSC). And the Centre’s dedicated instructors will not be deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they’re moving the DRSC online. 

“We are dedicated to ensuring all students registered in first- or second-year math or stats courses have the individual support they need to succeed,” said Sean Graves, instructor and coordinator of the DRSC. “Although we are looking forward to the days when we can meet in-person again, there have been some clear benefits to moving our resources online, such as drop-in help, the precalculus program, and more. We plan to continue developing and improving these new features even when we are able to return to campus safely.” 

The DRSC made the move to virtual for drop-in help in March and will continue to offer support this way throughout the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms. Students submit a request for help via the DRSC eClass site. Graduate student teaching assistants will then respond to each request individually. “We made the switch to online drop-in help in March, and the transition was very smooth,” added Graves. “The students who we spoke with appreciated the fact that they could get help from an expert while doing their coursework in the comfort of their homes.”

The DRSC also offers a Precalculus Program, designed for students taking MATH 134, 144, or 154. The six-week program is available online and equips students with the skills and background necessary to succeed in first-year calculus courses. 

A new offering from the DRSC is the Online Mathematics Primer Course. “This is a course that students can take during the summer to practice their junior high and high school mathematics in preparation for their calculus class in September,” said Graves. “This is a wonderful opportunity for students new to the University of Alberta to get used to learning online using eClass while reviewing their prerequisite mathematics material.”

The Decima Robinson Support Centre was named after Decima Robinson, the first BSc graduate at the University of Alberta. She graduated with a major in mathematics in 1911. Learn more about the life and legacy of Decima Robinson.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has required a mass migration to the digital world, and post-secondary learning is no exception. As the University of Alberta prepares to continue delivering course content primarily remotely in the Fall 2020, the Faculty of Science has connected with some of our top instructors and scientists to illustrate what the university experience will look like in the Fall 2020 term. While delivery may look different, what remains the same is our strong commitment to an engaging and quality education and experience for our students. 

Learn more about how the University of Alberta is preparing to engage students for September and beyond on our Fall 2020 hub. 

Students, faculty, and staff can stay up-to-date with the latest information on COVID-19 for the campus community online.