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 Low-Threshold Improvements for “Killer” Gateway Courses

  • MEMORIES:  What, if anything, do you remember about the the last time you took a math course or learned math in some organized way?   
  • TRIGGERS:  What re-triggers your reactions to that experience?  Positive?  Negative?
  • USAGE:  How, if at all, has the most advanced math you ever learned been useful later on?  How often?
  • ADVICE:  Resources, strategies, etc. for those about to begin teaching “Math 101”?  For those trying to “get thru Math 101”?  
  • BANE OR BOON? What % of adults have been prevented or delayed by Math 101 from achieving goals important to them?  What % of adults has Math 101 helped to identify and achieve goals important to them? 

*[Note:  In this context, “Math 101” includes undergraduate courses with that label AND similar courses and activities, related prerequisites, college developmental/remedial courses, independent learning, etc.  Most include some overlap with “beginning algebra”. ]

In the TLT Group’s FridayLive! free online sessions, you are welcome to ask questions and to offer your own opinions, especially those based on your past experience and current activities at institutions you know.

Context: Low-Threshold Improvements for “Killer” Gateway Courses

For people trying to “get thru” these courses or course requirements: 
Students, Faculty, and Those who support them.

“Killer” Gateway Courses 

Terms & Definitions.  Who cares? Why bother? 

First Focus: 4 “Killer” Gateway Courses:

  • Math “101” – pre-algebra, algebra, statistics,…?
  • English “101” – writing, editing, reading, literature…?
  • Chemistry “101” – notation, …?
  • [Computer Literacy, … Other commonly used title for this course?]

Low-Threshold Improvements & LTAs – Characteristics

LTAs = Low-Threshold Applications, Activities

  • Non-intimidating; relatively low-cost; relies on widely-used technology; includes online elements
  • Very brief intro (potential users can learn enough in 2-10 minutes online to reject, explore, or commit to use)
  • Benefits to most students are apparent. And well-documented?

LTPCIs = Low-Threshold Programmatic Course Improvement (LTPCI)

  • Non-intimidating; relatively low-cost; relies on widely-used technology; includes online elements
  • Brief intro (potential users can learn enough in 10-20 minutes online to reject, explore, or commit to launch and use in the next academic term or year.)
  • Benefits to most students are apparent. And well-documented?
  • Includes an improved use of online resources integrated throughout a course;


Become an Individual Member or persuade your institution to become a TLT Group Subscriber.  Members have access to ALL recordings of past online sessions.  Support thoughtful and practical exploration of technology FOR teaching and learning.

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Why be involved with the TLT Group?  

We find ways to improve teaching and learning with technology in colleges and universities – ways which take advantage of new resources and new ideas without sacrificing the principles that matter most.

Our perspective is especially valuable when external pressures (like the continuing financial crisis) compel many to make – and others to accept – wild claims for the educational possibilities of technology.  

Our approach always builds on respect for what has been accomplished in the past, balanced evaluation of new options, and enthusiasm for emerging possibilities.

We provide resources and ideas that support collaborative change.  We help faculty members and other academic professionals to share their expertise and insights.

We “walk the walk.”  We use, demonstrate, and advocate low-cost, low-threshold resources:  tools and activities that are easy to learn, easy to begin using, and have low incremental cost in dollars, time, and stress. We make Frugal Innovations.

The TLT Group helps people in educational institutions to improve teaching and learning by making more appropriate and cost-effective use of information technology without sacrificing what matters most to them.

PO Box 5643     
Takoma Park, Maryland 20913
Phone: 301.270.8312 

To learn more about our work or our organization contact: Sally Gilbert