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University Partners with Khan Academy to Prepare Students in Mathematics

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – JUNE 4, 2013 – Selected faculty members and students at The University of Texas at Brownsville received training from the California-based Khan Academy during a day-long session late last week.

Oscar Arthur Alvarez, 21, a senior engineering physics – computer engineering major from Reynosa, Mexico, will be a Summer Bridge tutor this summer.
The training held at the Education and Business Complex’s Salon Cassia focused on mathematics education.

Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization that works nationwide with primary and secondary schools and universities offering online videos and exercises for students and teachers to use for a range of subjects from calculus to chemistry.

Khan Academy will be piloted this summer in the university’s Center for Learning Enrichment’s Summer Bridge Program for more than 20 incoming freshmen from Thursday, June 6 to Wednesday, July 10.

“From the students perspective what they want is to pass the Compass and be college ready,” said Dr. Leslie Jones, Co-Director of the Learning Enrichment Center.

Oscar Arthur Alvarez, 21, a senior engineering physics – computer engineering major from Reynosa, Mexico, will be a Summer Bridge tutor. He attended the training and liked what he heard.

“The professors will give more attention to the students and feel their progress is being monitored,” said Alvarez. “It will be a good project.”

Khan Academy will also be used this summer by the Department of Mathematics for two calculus preparation boot camps for up to 80 students. The boot camps’ purpose is to bridge students from pre-calculus to university-level calculus.

Brenda Martinez, 20, a junior mathematics major from Matamoros, Mexico, will be one of the tutors for the workshops.

“I like how you can practice math problems (with Khan Academy),” she said. “That’s what I usually do in my math classes.”

Khan Academy’s focuses on:

• Mastering: Students should have a strong foundation in mathematics before moving on to more challenging subjects.
• Personalization: If students have weaknesses in specific mathematics subjects, they should be able to take time for more in-depth lessons.
• Interaction: Students work on computers individually but also work with their peers on activities.

“The depth and breadth of the online activities allow students to master the concepts at their own pace,” said Dr. Janna Arney, Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs. “The faculty and tutors are then able to focus on the concepts most needed by students.”

Faculty members will get instant data derived from the students’ online work.

“It will help us target specific skills that need to be developed,” said Jones.


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