Conestoga news

March 20, 2013 4:18 PM

Learning Commons shows math can be fun

For most, a piece of pie for solving a math equation is a pretty satisfying reward. But for Laura Iacocca, it comes with an added benefit: letting people know that math can be fun.

Iacocca, math coordinator at Conestoga’s Learning Commons, explained that offering pie is a tradition on this mathematics-focused day that is celebrated the world over. By challenging students to answer fun math questions and earn a piece of pie in the process, she could also introduce them to the variety of math supports available through the Learning Commons.

According to Iacocca, Math Services offers several different methods of support, from first-year drop-in sessions with volunteer mentors to individual one-on-one appointments for students who want more individualized support. Appointments focus on students’ needs and follow a pace that is comfortable for each individual.

Math Services also provides support for upper-year students enrolled in senior math courses. These services are led by a full-time math consultant and are free for all full-time Conestoga students.

Group appointment sessions are scheduled around senior math courses and allow students to collaborate with others in their course. Upper-year students looking for more focused sessions can book one-on-one appointments with the math consultant. PiDay.jpg

Iacocca says that the popularity of the program continues to grow. “In the fall 2012 term alone, the math service had over 1200 visits from 400 students,” she said. “That’s impressive considering the service only started in the fall of 2010.”

For Iacocca, Math Services is about helping all students strengthen their math skills. “We see just as many students who want to achieve 95 per cent as students who want to achieve 55 per cent,” she said. “We know that success means something different to everyone and we are here to support them.”

Staff at the Learning Commons work to create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere for students, and those who are interested in attending a math drop-in session just need to show up. Students are encouraged to check the Learning Commons website to find times for drop-in sessions and schedule appointments at the Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo or Guelph campus.

Iacocca says that Math Services has been very successful: last term, 78 per cent of first-year students and 82 per cent of upper year students who accessed the service successfully completed their math courses.

The Learning Commons also offers support in other areas including writing, learning skills, peer tutoring and English conversation partners.