A. Vermeyen1, S. Ronsse1, D. Coppens2, B. D'Haenens1

1KAHO Sint-Lieven (BELGIUM)
2KU Leuven, Faluty of Engineering Technology (BELGIUM)
Every year, before the start of the academic year, several summer programs in mathematics are organised for freshmen starting in different departments of KU Leuven Association. In a recent survey lecturers of such courses in study programs with a minor in mathematics the efficiency is questioned. Students are interested and active during the lessons but they seem very difficult to be motivated practicing the acquired skills on their own. Lectures also feel the need to differentiate: the mathematical background of the participants is very heterogeneous. Furthermore, the need for a course that can be used in self study at any time has grown. This is a result of the flexible way study programs are organised: more and more students are combining courses which is causing double bookings. Besides, an increasing number of students is starting later on during the academic year.

To meet to these needs, the project ActiMath was started, financed by the OOF (OnderwijsOntwikkelingsFonds ) of KU Leuven Association. Forces were joined to make an interactive course on the digital learning platform. Some aspects of the project had already been presented in a previous edition of INTED[1] and Edulearn[2]. Now we can present the total outcome of the project.
One of the biggest achievements of the project, is that the course was developed along with more than 15 programs of the Association KU Leuven. In September 2013 ActiMath was implemented for the first time in more than 10 different programs. ActiMath reached more than 800 students who used it to remediate their basic skills. This number is still increasing.
During the presentation, we will demonstrate the different tools used in the course. These may vary: an entrance test to determine the level of the student, adaptive learning paths based on tests with feedback, simple web lectures, interactive exercises (i.e. using STACK), ordinary tasks with answers, …

ActiMath was used in several ways: some programs used it as a complement to the existing summer course, while others used it as a replacement. It was also used for supporting collaborative learning. Distance students were able to use it as a tutorial in self study.
The use of ActiMath in the variety mentioned was evaluated by students as well as lecturers. Using a survey, students were asked about the degree of contentment, the tool they used most often, the frequency of use and perception about the learning outcome. In an interview, participating lecturers gave their opinion about the contents, the use, the used scenarios, the technical aspects and the work load in comparison with the traditional summer courses.

[1] Vermeyen, A., Ronsse, S. Van den Bossche J., D’Haenens, B., Van Caudenberg J. How to remediate mathematics? Demonstration of different possibilities. Proceeding of the 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Valencia, Spain, 4-6 March, 2013.
[2] Neijens, T. et-al.(2011) ACTIMATH: A remedial course in mathematics adapted to the needs of the student and their chosen field of study. Proceeding of EDULEARN2011, the 3rd annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Barcelona, Spain, 4-6 July, 2011.