Working in collaboration, Shaheen Charlwood (Warwick Manufacturing Group) and Judith Brown (Flexible and Online Learning Division) created the Maths Online Bridge for Individualised Undergraduate Support (MOBIUS). MOBIUS, which covers a range of topics from A-level maths such as notation, algebra, calculus, trigonometry and matrices, is designed to help students fill in any gaps in their maths knowledge and prepare for undergraduate study. Although MOBIUS is used by several departments including WMG, School of Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry and Life Sciences, it provides students with individualised support. Rather than being simply a repository of resources, it offers students personalised pathways. At each stage of the Moodle course, students are offered an exit pass, which consists of a multiple-choice question. Depending on their response to the question, they are either given the option to proceed to the next topic, delve further into the current topic with more advanced resources, or, if they need greater support, they are offered further resources and the opportunity to retake the exit pass. Should the student not complete the exit pass for a second time, they are directed to a tutor to get additional support.
MOBIUS supports efforts to widen participation by dealing with the challenge of students arriving for undergraduate study, particularly in degree apprenticeship programmes, with varying levels of knowledge and mixed abilities. Crucially, it builds confidence through its accessible and friendly design, which aims to support students in a non-judgemental way. Additionally, MOBIUS is designed to not only teach students skills, but also to give them a greater depth of understanding of mathematical concepts and why they’re relevant to each area of study.
- While Shaheen provided the questions and topics for MOBIUS, Judith led on the creation of the resource on Moodle.
- Shaheen worked with two maths tutors, who were hired on a temporary basis, to create the maths resources with a particular focus on accessibility. Shaheen also hired two students through UniTemps to support with recording and editing videos, and creating maths-specific transcripts.
- Judith built the resource on Moodle using the ‘lesson activity’ function. The key to this was simplifying the design. At each stage, students are typically only offered three options: move on to the next topic, move on to more advanced resources for the current topic, or get additional support on the current topic and retake the exit pass.
- Judith worked with a designer to create icons, colour-coding and video graphics to make the resource more accessible.
- The simplified design meant that Judith was also able to create a template, which has made it possible for the resource to grow as other departments also started using it.
- Once students are given access to the resource, they’re shown a short introductory video that explains what the resource is, how to use it and why it’s useful.
- MOBIUS is designed to be self-explanatory and allow students to work through it independently using suggested and individualised pathways.
The idea was that it would emulate what a teacher would do face-to-face as much as possible. It’s not as nuanced as a face-to-face interaction would be, but it tries to do as much as it can.
Once they were on [the Moodle resource], [the students] could pretty much look after themselves with a little help and guidance from us every so often. Some of the degree apprentices [were] just a little bit cautious at first and felt worried that we might be judging them if they’re getting things wrong, but once they work out what the system is they’re pretty much self-regulating after that.
This year we’re developing the resource to include a resilience in learning module as well, so that anyone who feels that they can’t cope has this resources as well on how to deal with anxiety in learning.