Understanding Perceptions of Community College Faculty Regarding Effective Teaching in Online Corequisite College Algebra



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Abstract Background: One mission of the community college is to make education accessible to all people within the community by offering open-access admission. Due to these open- door policies, community colleges find a need to offer developmental courses to help build the reading, writing, and mathematics skills of underprepared students. Traditionally, the developmental mathematics courses have both the highest enrollments and the highest failure and withdrawal rates. For this reason, underprepared students tend to struggle in developmental math and college algebra courses, which can be obstacles to their achieving their academic and vocational goals. Due to the passing of Texas House Bill 2223 in 2017, reform in developmental mathematics now requires co-enrollment in both developmental and college-level mathematics courses. In the initial response to this bill, most corequisite courses were taught as face-to-face courses. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many of these new courses to adopt an online format. Purpose: The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to gain a better understanding of the teaching practices of online corequisite college algebra faculty who were identified as successful in terms of the reported passing rate. This study addressed the following research questions: (1) What do community college mathematics faculty identify as effective teaching practices in online corequisite developmental mathematics and college algebra courses? (2) How do they implement these effective practices in the online classroom? Methods: A basic qualitative research design was used for this investigation. Participants were eight mathematics faculty identified as effective instructors in the college algebra corequisite courses from 2018–2020, at a community college system in the Houston area. Data sources included an online, open-ended questionnaire, semistructured interviews, and course documents. Specifically, the constant comparative method, an inductive data analysis process, was used to analyze interview data. Results: The findings of the study revealed six major themes regarding perceived attributes of effective online instructors in the corequisite algebra course. According to the participants, effective online instructors in the corequisite algebra course - (1) create personalized videos; (2) communicate regularly with students; (3) provide guided notes for students; (4) require submission of written work; (5) give quizzes often; (6) and motivate and encourage students. The study also revealed that over half of the faculty believed that the conversion to fully online classes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic enhanced their teaching by expanding and improving their knowledge of and use of technological tools. Conclusions: Overall, the online faculty found significant value in using technology as a lever (1) to model different approaches to problem-solving both, (2) to develop and maintain relationships with their students, (3) to address issues of inequity related to the diverse levels of prerequisite skills in the developmental math course, and (4) to address issues of student anxiety, exhaustion, and confidence. Therefore, to help novice online faculty who teach corequisite developmental and algebra courses, it is recommended that mathematics departments offer training and support to help faculty learn to create and implement the identified effective teaching practices.



Online mathematics, Corequisite algebra, Effective teaching practices, Faculty perceptions, Online teaching, Community college mathematics