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ERIC Number: ED561010
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
Part I--A Case Study in Post-Secondary Mathematics: The Importance of Mental Health Awareness
Resch, Janelle
Online Submission
Due to the shift of civilization from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, mathematical literacy has become a necessity in the twenty-first century. However, in order to learn and contribute to the mathematical community, one has to be in a state of good mental health. Where "good mental health," is defined as one who has developed a set of healthy coping strategies, while being in a positive learning environment, and having a social support system. Traditionally, universities have been the venue of such higher learning. If these institutions want to remain as thriving grounds for higher education and engines of research, post-secondary institutions need to be aware of these factors and actively contribute to the well-being of its students and faculty. Unfortunately, students do not always receive the support necessary to be mentally healthy. The purpose of this paper is to examine how social awareness and sensitivity of mental health in a university setting is a key component for individuals to flourish academically and grow personally. Several voluntary surveys completed by first and second year math students at the University of Waterloo will be presented. The surveys investigated the students' experiences at the university, particularly in the Mathematics Department. In addition, this paper explores an alternative way to structure math classes, specifically assignment scheduling, in order to help students develop healthy study habits. Instead of giving students weekly-assignments which is typically done at the University of Waterloo for the core math classes, mini-assignments were assigned after each lecture. This experiment was conducted for the second year linear algebra class, and the two methods are compared and statistically analyzed. The group who completed mini-assignments after each class consisted of 459 students, whereas the group that completed weekly-assignments consisted of 387 students. The results indicate that the more frequent assignment schedule helped students increase confidence and overall grades while reducing anxiety and stress. Finally, this paper briefly discusses the importance of socialization, specifically for young mathematicians and scientists, and potential consequences of reduced social exposure in the Digital Age. The following are appended: (1) An Exhaustive Statistical Analysis of the Weekly and EoL Assignment Group Data; and (2) Additional Comments from Students. [This paper was edited and written with the help of Eric Ocelewski.]
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada