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UW-L to lead development of new math program

LA CROSSE, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse received a $50,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to lead the development of a new program to boost college readiness and success.

University of Wisconsin System leaders say once the Math Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) program is created, it has the potential to help students enter college and graduate in higher numbers, in less time, at lower costs.


The math course will be free and made available to "a wide variety of learners," including high school students. Non-traditional –aged students can also take advantage of the course before returning to college, or to improve their math skills.

"Mathematics is something, you know, you can't really fake that, you either have those skills or you don't, and they are so central to all the science, technology and engineering fields these days," said UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow.

Using start-up funding provided by the UW System, UW-L launched the Fast Track pilot program in July 2012. The pilot involved 38 students whose scores on the math placement exams increased significantly after taking the six-week course.

Moving forward, teams of online tutors will be trained and the set of learning materials will be expanded thanks to the $50,000 grant.

"This is a win-win for students successfully completing the program," Gow said in a statement. "They will be able to take advanced classes sooner, allowing them to potentially graduate sooner, saving them and the university resources."

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