Male postgraduate student revising in the Maths Building foyer

July 30, 2004, by Teaching at Nottingham

Mathematics Electronic Learning Environment in Engineering and Science (MELEES)

Stephen Hibberd and Cliff Litton: “MELEES is a web-based environment, developed since 2002, to support students who take mathematics modules as a part of their course. In 2004-5 over 2000 students across Engineering and Science at the University of Nottingham used MELEES to support their learning.

“The principal challenge within the service teaching of mathematics is to address the needs of students who are often not provided per se with as extensive a support structure as that associated with their main subject area(s). The scale and diversity of the service teaching provision at Nottingham invited a development focussing on:

  • establishing a unified supportive environment;
  • providing feedback to students, their lecturers and their home Schools;
  • identifying and supporting e-learning strategies;
  • specialist support for students with special learning needs.

“A variety of resources have been established using local expertise but also importantly from other sources such as those funded by national initiatives (including HEFCE and HE Academy – Mathematics, Statistics and OR Subject Centre). Initial support for the initiative was provided within the University by the award of an “E-Learning Development Project” and additional support for special needs aspects from the “Learning and Teaching Development Fund”. Development and of MELEES was undertaken in three phases linked to implementation in the successive academic session 2002-3, 2003-4 and 2004-5. The provision of MELEES as a support website for students has now been embedded within Mathematical Sciences.

“The benefits of using a VLE has been embraced by students and teaching staff as a means of providing an integrated and versatile support mechanism. The culture is developing that students are using the environment extensively which in turn encourages teaching staff to develop more “e-learning” activities. The monitoring and tracking facilities provide the opportunity to develop the site according to the particular cohort groups in tandem with the teaching preferences of the lecturer and the requirements of the subject matter.”

Started with University E-learning funding in 2002, the work is now integrated into the Faculty’s teaching activities and MELEES is now hosted in Moodle. Produced July 2004.

Prof Stephen Hibberd
Associate Professor
School of Mathematical Sciences

Dr Cliff Litton
School of Mathematical Sciences

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