New Online Math Course for Beginning Students
Vice-Rector for Teaching and Learning
TU9, the consortium of leading universities of technology in Germany, has approved of the mathematics online course OMB+ developed under the coordination of RWTH Aachen and TU Braunschweig. It is the first course setting nationwide uniform standards for mathematics proficiency of beginning students.
Beginning students of a natural science, technological or engineering subject need basic mathematics knowledge and skills. To ensure an optimal start of studies in a subject such as engineering, computer science, business administration or a natural science subject, RWTH Aachen and TU Braunschweig have developed a new nationally available course offering together with twelve other universities and universities of applied sciences, including FH Aachen. The online mathematics course OMB+ is to help students brush up their math skills, gain a sure-footed understanding of mathematical concepts, and apply basic mathematical principles.
TU9, the alliance of leading universities of technology in Germany, has now approved of the online course. Professor Aloys Krieg, mathematics professor and Vice-Rector for Teaching at RWTH Aachen, is pleased that the course has succeeded in setting uniform national standards for all subjects with math requirements.
The course can be accessed online free of charge, and each participating university can make it available to prospective students. So far, 25 universities are participating in the project; other institutions have signaled their interest to join the network.
Support from Academic Staff
“The unique selling proposition of the course is that it does not only provide online learning content, but makes it possible for participants to get support from student assistants and academic staff – seven days a week,” explained Vice-Rector Krieg. Tutors are available to provide support between 10am and 8pm, via phone, Skype, chat, or e-mail. They answer questions, provide guidance to working groups and in online forums, moderate discussions and help the students to arrive at solutions. According to Krieg, “It is not enough just to provide content on the Internet – the social involvement of learners is the key to success. Often, this aspect is not duly taken into account.”
The course has been developed in particular to support prospective students in areas where they tend to have problems, and it teaches math skills that are needed to succeed in the courses of study. As Krieg emphasizes, “we want to give those students a chance to succeed in their studies who are currently not fully prepared for it.”
The course consists of explanatory texts with examples, interactive illustrations, exercises, and tests which help students to check their knowledge. It has a modular structure, and students can complete it at their own pace. Those who successfully complete the final exam receive a certificate.
The course is also available in an English-language version. Currently, RWTH’s Media for Teaching unit is creating videos for the course to further enhance the students’ learning experience.