The Mathematics Learning Centre (MLC) in the University of Limerick (UL) deals with large numbers of adult learners of mathematics. These students have different learning issues/requirements compared to traditional age learners who tend to be much more homogeneous as regards age, mathematical background and knowledge etc. ‘Front-end’ tutorials are organised and taught in the first 2 weeks of the academic year to help adult learners catch up on mathematics fundamentals they will need in their courses. These students can find it tremendously difficult to catch up and keep up with other studies at the same time. An intervention before they start their studies would be more beneficial and a lot less stressful.
The main aim of such a programme is to ease the transition to third level education for Adult learners who are intending on returning to/starting college by:
- revising essential mathematics skills they will need,
- revising essential study skills by being part of a lecture/tutorial group,
- meeting other Adult learners who are ‘in the same boat’,
- giving the learners an induction to life at third level before crowds of students arrive back i.e. lectures, tutorials, finding their way around campus etc.
In 2008, Dr Olivia Gill (University of Limerick) was seconded to work with sigma's Professor Duncan Lawson to create a teaching and learning package consisting of a book of notes/manual that students and teachers of mathematics can take home and keep. This programme, entitled "Head Start Maths", can then be taught to mature students in any third level institution over a period of a week before the students enter college.
The nine chapters of the Head Start Maths Manual (PDFs)