The USF SMART Lab is a learning laboratory for math and science courses that utilizes best research-based practices for teaching and learning. This Lab is staffed by faculty and instructional staff who provide on-demand personalized assistance. In addition to the learning materials that are accessible at the lab and through the internet, the SMART Lab provides students with the opportunity to receive one-on-one help from tutors, teaching assistants and/or instructors.
Why is the SMART Lab helpful?
Nationwide some college math courses, in particular College Algebra, have a reputation for having high failure rates, sometimes as high as 60%.
At USF, from 2007-2010 the average failure rate was 35% for College Algebra. From 2011-2012, the average failure rate was 27% for traditional lecture-based College Algebra classes but only 18% for the new redesigned pilot College Algebra classes which used the Emporium Course Model.
How are the redesigned SMART Lab courses different from traditional courses?
Traditionally, courses like College Algebra had 2 large lecture classes per week and 2 small breakout sessions with a TA for questions and answers.
The redesigned SMART Lab classes will have only one large overview/discussion class per week but will require a minimum of 3 hours in the computer lab per week.
How is the redesigned SMART Lab learning process different from traditional courses?
Traditional classes generally do not promote active and collaborative learning which research indicates produces greater student success.
In redesigned classes students spend most of their time actively doing math instead of passively listening to someone else talk about math. Additionally, in the redesigned classes students can get personalized assistance when they encounter stumbling blocks. Furthermore, SMART Lab courses address diverse learning styles, encourage mastery-level learning, and allow students to be more in control of their learning.
What are the requirements for students in a SMART Lab course?
Attend one large class per week in which a professor will give students an overview of the topics for the week and engage them in discussions. Attend a minimum of 3 hours per week in the computer lab completing online assignments, study plans, and quizzes, all while having access to one-on-one tutoring help from graduate teaching assistants and/or tutors.
Success is the sum of small efforts,
repeated day in and day out.
~ Robert Collier