Saturday, 25 June 2011
University of Greenwich Maths Café
Having spoken about the University of Greenwich Maths Café at various seminars and conferences recently I am aware of the need for us to have a website. However, as that will take a little time, I thought that, for now, a blog entry might suffice.
The Greenwich Maths Café was started in September 2010 with funding from the University's Dragons' Den. It was set up to enable us to increase our support of struggling maths students, stretch our more able mathematicians, provide different ways that staff and students could interact more informally and enable students get to know each other more easily.
The café operates a weekly drop in session where students can either attend to get help with tutorial questions or come and play some of the many strategy games and puzzles that we have. Students particularly appreciate it when staff join in with these.
Student feedback has been very positive with students asking for more sessions, saying that they like the interaction with staff and commenting that the tutorial help has been very valuable. Previous attempts to offer help sessions have not been nearly so successful. The number of students passing our first year courses this year has increased considerably which we think, in part, is down to the provision of the Maths Café.
We have been awarded a grant from HE STEM to increase this provision which will enable us to run more sessions and purchase more equipment. Here is a rough list of the games and puzzles that were purchased initially with some additional comments.
Guidelines for starting a Maths Café like ours will be written soon.
Conference abstract (presentation to follow shortly):