HOW TO REMEDIATE MATHEMATICS? DEMONSTRATION OF DIFFERENT POSSIBILITIES
Curricula in secondary education follow the social trend in which encyclopedic knowledge becomes less important. It is not surprising that math lecturers feel the consequence of this shift. A small survey organized in Flanders, explored lecturers’ perspective towards basic mathematical knowledge and attitudes of new students. The survey revealed that mathematic lecturers at universities and colleges find that the basic skills (numeracy) and attitudes such as punctuality and language proficiency have decreased.
In the project ActiMath  , we are developing an interactive course for all participating colleges and universities (Association K.U.Leuven) to remediate mathematics. During the project we look for an approach which helps and stimulates students to reach the main subjective: to remediate mathematical skills and attitudes at the start of their study.
In September 2011, we tested ActiMath for students starting their first bachelor year at KAHO Aalst (construction, real estate, electro-mechanics), totaling 120 students. Based on the result from an entrance test, we gave them a suggested path to follow in ActiMath, and we instructed them on how to use the system. Afterwards they could try out ActiMath at home. Responses were positive, especially for the interactive exercises with feedback. It should be noted that most students preferred a mix between self-study and contact education.
Via the VLE students have access to different types of learning material:
• Web lectures in which exercises are demonstrated
• Tests (mostly multiple choice) using the possibilities of the VLE, especially the adaptive learning paths
• Interactive exercises using STACK  , an open source program that is able to generate exercises and feedback
• Traditional course in pdf format
Students start with an entrance test and a survey about their school past. Based on the results of these entrance test and survey, subjects to be taken are suggested. By combining the different types of learning materials, students can follow their own adaptive learning path, based on their own learning style.
Lecturers can also use the package in different ways: it can be used as encyclopedic course, in combination with classical colleges, but it is also usable as a tutorial in distance education
Contents of the session:
In this session we will share the results of the survey of lecturers’ perspective towards basic mathematical knowledge and attitudes of new students
We will demonstrate the interactive course. We will show how we use the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) of the Association, Toledo (based on BlackBoard). We will show how we implemented STACK and we will demonstrate how questions can be made in STACK. We will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the package. Also the results of the evaluation both by students as well as lecturers will be presented.
During this academic year, data are gathered to compare basic skills of mathematics, the use of ActiMath and the final exam results. Using these data we will be able to optimize the subjects as well as the learning paths used in ActiMath.
 T. Neijens et al. (2011), ACTIMATH: A REMEDIAL COURSE IN MATHEMATICS ADAPTED TO THE NEEDS OF THE STUDENT AND THEIR CHOSEN FIELD OF STUDY
 C.J. SANGWIN, S. HAMMOND et al. (2011), STACK, http://stack.bham.ac.uk/.