Help labs enrich courses

Integrating labs with courses at Midland College allows students to focus on what they do not understand rather than on the material that they do understand, according to Lynda Webb, dean of adult and developmental education at Midland College.

MC offers a Math Lab and a Language Hub which incorporates both the writing and reading labs. MC also has computers that can be moved around campus to serve as mobile labs to supplement the permanent ones.

The labs that MC offers serve different needs. They help remedial and returning students who are having trouble with their classes, as well as testing and other applications, according to Webb.

Other colleges have had good results from incorporating labs as part of their class requirements.

“Amarillo College had a 78 percent success rate if students put in seven hours at a lab,” Webb said.

If MC did not have the labs, there would not be another place for students to get help since MC does not have a large active tutoring program, Webb said.

What is now the MC Language Hub was two separate entities before, the writing lab and the reading lab. Both labs were located in the LRC building, and the labs were merged together in the spring of 2010.

Sara Peterson, the Language Hub coordinator; she said the opening of the new Language Hub was a Marti Gras party. The Language Hub is multifaceted, Peterson said.

The Language Hub serves as the lab for remedial reading and writing as well as a place students can go to study for any subject they need help with. For developmental classes, students are required to complete a number of hours set by their instructors as part of their class grade.

The Language Hub is also used for GED and overflow TSI testing; people from outlying counties will also come to take the Nelson Denny Sheriffs entrance exam, which is the reading comprehension test.

“(People) have come from as far as Fort Stockton and Seminole to take the entrance exam,” Peterson said.

The Language Hub normally has two to fivetutorsto sit in the lab to help students with their work.

“All of the adult tutors have master’s degrees in the field of English and the student tutors are all good at English,” Peterson said.

The Language Hub is located in room 182 of the TC Annex and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.Wednesday from and closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The MC Math lab has been around since the late 1990s. It was originally located in the Technical building room 130. The Math Lab originally was a separate lab course. Students were assigned homework using computer program called IOS.

MC math professor Michael Dixon has been at working at MC since 1999. He said that the problems of the IOS program caused difficulty for students as they were not taught the same as what they were learning in class.

The Math Lab program was restructured to be a support lab for students needing help with their homework. The lab also started hiring students as peer tutors to help other students.

“The current model is more reflective of what the students want to help them with their work,” Dixon said.

In 2010, the Math Lab moved to its current location in the MHAB. Alma Brannan has been the MC Math Lab coordinator since 2010. Brannan said the Math Lab serves everything from basic math and more advanced subject matter.

“Around 1000 students are signed up for Math Lab a semester,” Brannan said.

Only students in introductory or intermediate algebra are required to be in Math Lab for credit. Students enrolled must earn 13 credit hours to pass, but all students can come and get help.The Math Lab also acts as a testing center for some of the math courses.

The Math Lab normally has three peer tutors and one instructor on the floor to help students with their work.

Brannan said the only discipline the lab is set up to help in is mathematics, but there are students who have study groups for chemistry and physics, and there are tutors who can help with those areas, but the primary focus is math.

The Math Lab is located in room 124 in the MHAB. It is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.Monday-Thursday, and 8 a.m. to noon onFriday and Saturday and Closed Sunday.helplab

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