Aston University has launched the UK’s first pilot of Sweden’s successful maths tutoring platform, Maths Coach Online, enabling GCSE and A-Level students to access free online maths support from Aston’s final year maths undergraduates.
The sessions are led by a team of five undergraduate coaches from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Mathematics Group, who give qualified support two evenings per week between 5pm and 8pm, with the sessions likely to be extended as demand grows.
The platform, which is currently being run on a trial basis, operates as a secure text based messaging system, allowing students to communicate with coaches anonymously. All coaches are DBS checked and have received theoretical and practical training in online teaching. They will also sit two examinations throughout their time as a coach. All sessions are stored and checked by members of staff regularly for safe-guarding purposes.
Overseeing the UK pilot of Maths Coach Online are Aston academics Dr Tomas Johansson and Dr Wei En Tan who said: “We are excited to have Maths Coach Online up and running in the UK. With our country’s current shortage of maths teachers, we hope a service like this will be of great value to both maths teachers and pupils studying maths in schools.
“With this free platform, access to one on one maths coaching is no longer reserved for those that can afford private tuition but is, instead, available for all students. We believe that Maths Coach Online will help many to achieve their full mathematical potential.”
The maths coaching platform is supported by Aston’s outreach program and has been advertised to a number of schools in the West Midlands as part of the pilot project. It will also support research into online learning and results will be fed back into schools and teacher training programs.
Outreach Manager Andreas Michael said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Mathematics group to roll out Maths Coach Online. It’s a cost-effective intervention that has the potential to support thousands of students. Feedback from school staff and students has been overwhelmingly positive so far and we are excited to see how things develop over the coming months”.
The coaching system was first launched in Sweden by KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm) and now involves multiple universities across a number of cities, with the backing of the Swedish government and local councils. The Swedish platform has recently passed a milestone of 45,000 calls since it began in 2009.
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About Aston University
Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.
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