Practice software for teaching mathematics, statistics and accounting

Purpose of the European tender for digital practice software

In this joint project from the Central Information Office (CIO) and the Community for Learning & Innovation (CLI), the aim is to offer students the opportunity to develop statistics, mathematics and accounting skills. The project includes the purchase and implementation of an online practice system. The content, comprising an explanation, exercises and tests, can be supplied by the external supplier, but lecturers within EUR should also be able to modify and develop this.

Background and Vision

Statistics, mathematics and accounting education requires students to practice completing many mathematical tasks. In the past, this was mainly accomplished by doing sums at home, which were then discussed on campus, for instance in tutorials or in some lectures. Practising using an online personal practice system, however, appears to be much more effective.

Within Erasmus University, various individual faculties have gained experience in recent years with different online practice software programs for statistics, mathematics and accounting education. The systems used offer students the option to practise, test their skills regularly and give the lecturers insight into their students’ progress and skill levels. There is now a need to switch to the joint purchase of a digital practice system. This will be realised with the European tender for digital practice software for mathematics, statistics and accounting education.

Several examples of functions that the practice systems should contain are included per user type below as illustration:

A student should be able to use the system to:

  • Take a diagnostic test prior to starting a course to estimate their own skill level and compare this with the required skills and/or;
  • Practise during the course, both on components of which they are not yet in full command as well as on components that students wish to understand at a deeper level;
  • Obtain insight into progress and skills’ development as well as weak and strong points via formative tests.

A lecturer should be able to use the system to:

  • Independently develop attractive questions, instructions and linked database files that are aligned to the course literature, learning objectives and the type of questions he/she requires and/or;
  • Select assignments relating to the learning objectives from the teaching material offered by the supplier.
  • Develop formative tests that provide insight into any knowledge that students lack. Use the results of the formative tests to personalise contact moments with students.

Realised practice software
The EUR currently works with two providers of training software, Grapsle and Sowiso. To date, various faculties have concluded separate annual contracts with the aforementioned suppliers.

In the academic year 2019-2020, the CLI started a pilot with the digital learning environment Grasple. ESSB and ESE have also concluded a separate pilot contract with Grasple in the same period. The pilot from CLI has been successful at RSM and ESSB, both from a student and teacher perspective, the approach is given a permanent place in the courses within RSM. The intention is therefore to continue to use an exercise system in the subjects where it was used, to ensure that education can proceed unimpeded.

The faculties of ESE, EUC and RSM use the digital practice environment Sowiso. In all three faculties, the practice software is now used in the primary educational process. In recent years, the teachers have developed a lot of practice material for this learning environment. We also see faculty collaborations arising when it comes to developing practice material. Many courses within these faculties have now been fully adapted to the availability of this digital learning environment. Students are satisfied with the practice options offered.

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