Dordt College recently received a $7,500 IDEA grant for upcoming research in mathematics education. The team, led by Mathematics Professor Mike Janssen, hopes to use IDEA scores to determine how activities done through an online homework system help students understand their class content.

Their research seeks to better understand a form of active learning known as the “flipped classroom,” in which students get a basic understanding of the course content before coming to class. Then, students work on more complex tasks in the classroom with help from professors and fellow students. Dordt faculty will also participate in the study, using the online homework system to help flip their classes.

Janssen noted that Dordt students in math classes who will use this online homework system will be impacted the most by this study. “Active learning techniques like the flipped classroom have shown to be more effective than traditional, lecture-based courses in student learning and retention, and we hope for these gains with Dordt students,” said Janssen.

“This grant is evidence that outside organizations, such as IDEA, recognize the innovative teaching pedagogies being explored by the Math Department,” said Dordt Mathematics Professor Valorie Zonnefeld. “I look forward to seeing the fruit of this research grant for our students and faculty.”

IDEA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving student learning in higher education through analytics, resources, and advice. IDEA partners with more than 300 colleges and universities across the country to facilitate continuous improvement in higher education.