In episode 1 of our e-Literate TV case study on Northern Arizona University, we gave a broad overview of the suite of initiatives (primarily) targeted at helping first-year students amidst the tensions coming from growing enrollments. ((Disclosure: Our e-Literate TV series of video case studies and explainer videos is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.)) In episode 2 we covered their advising and student support, including work with IPASS initiative. In this episode we look at their modified math emporium approach leveraging the Lumberjack Mathematics Center.

Math emporia have a mixed reputation, occasionally described as “the place where all the non-math majors are generally sent to virtually teach themselves subjects” or that “we’ve outsourced jobs for professors to a bunch of students on hourly wage”. Yet studies have shown positive results in many cases. Just saying there is an emporium approach doesn’t tell you much – some are run well with plenty of support for students, and some leave students on their own with poor support. So it is useful to see a specific case. How has NAU implemented a math emporium approach, what does it look like, what support is provided, and what are the results? NAU has implemented a modified emporium, and they have invested in a new facility to support this model.

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