Gradarius was created under the guidance and direction of the esteemed mathematician Dr. Alexei Miasnikov, closely collaborating with colleagues Dr. Sasha Ushakov, Dr. Denis Serbin, and Dr. Alex Myasnikov, from the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. After decades of teaching mathematics and performing mathematical research at universities in Europe and North America, the group of scholars became increasingly concerned that students with aptitudes and interests in STEM disciplines were struggling with Calculus.
Three trends were particularly disturbing: 1) Students were dropping or underperforming in Calculus courses at higher than expected rates, 2) Many students who completed Calculus courses (sometimes with high grades), were struggling to practically apply Calculus knowledge in advanced math, science, technology, and engineering courses, because they had not truly mastered critical Calculus concepts, and 3) Several intelligent students were losing confidence and self-esteem, switching to less-demanding majors, or completely dropping out of college.
Leveraging their collective research and experiences, they identified several structural roadblocks that hindered and inhibited students from reaching their highest potential in Calculus, such as:
Aware of advances in eLearning technologies and big data trends, Dr. Miasnikov and Dr. Myasnikov recognized that most of the frustrating roadblocks could be removed if students had access to an online learning platform that could guide them through Calculus problem solving in a step-by-step manner. It was critical that the learning platform be designed so that students could construct solutions in a free-form manner similar to paper. Additionally, an online learning platform could provide capabilities which simply are not feasible by instructors and tutors: providing a student with detailed explanations and individualized attention during each step of the problem solving process any time of the day or night regardless of the student’s location. Moreover, this individualized attention had to be potentially available to thousands of students simultaneously.
In 2010, Dr. Miasnikov and Dr. Myasnikov began collaborating to create the Gradarius Stepwise Calculus Learning Platform™. The driving philosophy and pedagogy was to provide students with the flexibility of paper while nurturing the discipline to solve Calculus problems logically and sequentially. Simultaneously, it was important to offer educators data and insights not only on how students solved problems, but the thinking behind each solution. While developing the platform, Dr. Miasnikov and Dr. Myasnikov named it “Gradarius,” the Latin word meaning “progressing step-by-step.”