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BMCC and City Tech Collaborate to Help Aspiring STEM Majors Pass Gateway Math Courses

October 26, 2016

Teams of Mathematics instructors from Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) and New York City College of Technology (City Tech/CUNY) are in the second year of an ambitious five-year cross campus collaboration to digitally transform gateway math courses and break down seemingly insurmountable barriers to career advancement in STEM fields.

The project, “Opening Gateways to Completion: Open Digital Pedagogies or Student Success in STEM” is funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) program of the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education.  BMCC's portion is part of a larger $3.2 million cooperative development grant between BMCC and City Tech.  BMCC Math Professor Jean Richard is BMCC's principal investigator and BMCC E-Learning Interim Director Ruru Rusmin is BMCC's co-principal investigator.

“The project intends to reduce withdrawal and failure rates and improve grades in these courses,” said Rusmin. “A related goal is to reduce financial barriers through the use of Open Educational Resources, or OERs.”

Each year, 12 BMCC and 12 City Tech math instructors will develop and design a comprehensive suite of OERs for four gateway math courses. Their work will consist of videos, supporting class materials and assignments from WeBWork, an open-source online homework system for math and sciences courses.

In Fall 2016, the first set of BMCC instructors began work on an MAT056 course. In Spring 2017, those same instructors will begin to teach the course using the newly incorporated elements.

“Opening Gateways will incorporate the Flipped Classroom Technology — where students watch a lecture online before attending class — as well as WeBWork, OERs, active learning strategies and open digital pedagogies,” said Rusmin.

The Opening Gateways program will be enhanced by use of the OpenLab, City Tech’s innovative open source digital platform for teaching, learning and collaboration.

In addition to serving as the project’s shared communication space and resource exchange, the OpenLab will integrate with the WeBWork platform.

The team plans to release the integration software integration publicly, which will potentially benefit the educational technology community across the world.








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  • Teams of math instructors working to digitize gateway instruction
  • Five-year project funded by $1.2 million U.S. DOE grant
  • Projects aims to increase pass rate in math classes that are STEM gateway courses

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