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CALculating Success?


Joanne Smailes
Newcastle Business School.
University of Northumbria, at Newcastle
Northumberland Building,
Northumberland Road,
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST
tel: 0191 227 4966
fax: 0191 227 4684


Theme: Implementations and their Evaluation


Quantitative subjects form an integral core of the degree programmes offered at Newcastle Business School (NBS). Preparation and delivery of the subject matter assumes that all students have the standard requirement of GCSE Grade C or equivalent in mathematics. Increasingly, however, experience indicates that many students, on entry, exhibit weak numerical aptitude. In an attempt to address this, an additional option unit (elective) has been introduced allowing students the opportunity to update their skills base and develop more confidence in handling numerical problems. Consequently, business modelling staff at NBS have selected this unit to pilot the use of in-house computer aided learning materials as the principal vehicle for the delivery of the syllabus.

This paper evaluates the effectiveness of this software based approach as a teaching method and its subsequent impact on developing expertise. A discussion of how the customisation of the program has created advantageous by-products of administrative data capture and analysis, as well as accountability of students' individual learning needs, is also addressed.

Furthermore, the changing roles of both student and lecturer within a computer aided learning environment are examined, with emphasis placed on the possible formulation of a "best practice" strategy for the future integration of computer aided learning within the mainstream curriculum.

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Last modified: 1 December 1999 (formatting).
Original text 21 May 1998.