Abstract—Many recent studies, based largely on face-to-face
classroom experiences, extol the benefits of new interactive
pedagogical models, including peer-based learning. Others have
shown that out-of-class student-teacher interaction (e.g., office
hour attendance) leads to improvements in many key academic
measures, including student performance, retention, and
satisfaction. At the same time, however, it has been shown that,
relative to their male peers, women are less likely to engage in
both in- and out-of-class discussion in post-secondary
mathematics and statistics courses.
In this paper, we discuss our experience with a mathematics service course in which online communication technology that allowed for anonymity was used. This technology dramatically improved office-hour participation rates, and students reported that it helped alleviate their anxieties surrounding communication. We then explore how these ideas can be extended to develop new communication models for the technologically-enhanced class – models that may help overcome social barriers to create a more inclusive student-centred environment, leading to further democratization of learning, including increased participation by women.
Index Terms—Mathematics education, online communication, statistics education, student engagement.
Marco Pollanen is with the Department of Mathematics, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sohee Kang is with the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, Canada (e-mail: soheekang@utsc. utoronto.ca).
Bruce Cater is with the Department of Economics, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada (e-mail: email@example.com).
Cite: Marco Pollanen, Sohee Kang, and Bruce Cater, "Increasing Engagement of Underrepresented Groups Using a Novel Mathematics Communication Tool," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 8, no. 7, pp. 502-505, 2018.