It All Adds Up at New Red Hawk Mathematics Learning Center

Montclair State’s new Red Hawk Mathematics Learning Center takes an innovative and exciting computer-aided, “emporium-style” approach to mathematics education.

The emporium model’s combination of classroom instruction, user-friendly mathematics technology, and readily accessible individualized attention has gained popularity at numerous colleges and universities across the country.

“Students learn math by doing,” explains Center Director Catherine Holl-Cross. “The beauty of the program is that students don’t get lost in a lecture. They control the course to a certain extent. They can watch a video for help with homework, or attend drop-in sessions at the Center for on-demand, one-on-one help.”

Sophomore Yaw Anyemeder agrees. “I’m really enjoying the extra help and personal attention that gives me a better understanding of each question.”

Located in the campus’s newly renovated Conrad J. Schmitt Hall, the Center launched a pilot program in January, offering a non-credit course in basic math skills and an introductory-level, for-credit course. “This semester, we have 300 students. We expect to roll the program out to offer five courses to as many as 2,000 students in the fall,” says Holl-Cross. “A nice thing in the fall will be that when students finish a course, they can move right on to the next course.”

Designed by Pearson Publishing, the program follows a linear approach to active learning; Students must complete 80-90 percent of their assignments correctly before they can move forward. At drop-in sessions, graduate students are there to answer students’ questions and help them catch up if they’ve fallen behind—a key benefit to the program.

“I like the way teachers and assistants move around to provide help as needed. The whole program emphasizes independent learning,” says Math 100 student John Gauweiler.  

For Holl-Cross the Red Hawk Mathematics Learning Center points the way to the future of mathematics education—and student success. “Technology’s a big part of it. But these aren’t just online classes: they’re online, in-person, and on-demand—so students get the help they need to succeed at math.”