Edinburgh Napier University: ENroute Yearbook 2016 Edition - Page 6

ENroute Yearbook 2015-16 Making Maths Accessible! Kate Durkacz, School of Engineering & Built Environment, Senior Fellow I am a mathematician, and for the past eight years I have been lecturing mathematics to engineering students at Edinburgh Napier. Peer Tutor in first-year tutorial I am working with students who are studying mathematics as a part of their course, rather than as their main degree subject, and who often arrive with ‘mathematical baggage’ such as low confidence in their abilities and fear of the unknown. As a result, I put a lot of effort into making maths accessible to all, and developing creative ways of supporting my students’ studies. My lectures are interactive, and I encourage students to actively participate in the solutions to engineering problems. Following each lecture there is a tutorial session, where students can get individual help. I developed the Engineering Peer Tutor scheme when class sizes were getting larger, to enable the students to receive sufficient attention. The Peer Tutors are third and fourth-year students, and they work alongside me in the tutorials. The scheme is now sufficiently well-established for students to volunteer to help out, having experienced the scheme for themselves as learners. The Maths clinic, MathsPlus, was established by my colleague Ann Evans back in 1988 and was years ahead of its time. This plays a very important role in supporting students outside class time, and now runs four afternoons per week in Merchiston library. Staffed by the Maths team, Peer Tutors come and help if it is busy. As well as working with Edinburgh Napier students to increase their mathematical skills and confidence, I liaise with college partners to support their students in the transition from college to university. I am passionate about my subject, and my goal is to enthuse all my students with a love of mathematics. 5 Kate and Peer Tutor in second-year tutorial