Solving the Problem of Learning Calculus
After decades of teaching Mathematics and performing Mathematical research, founders Dr. Alexei Miasnikov and Dr. Alex Myasnikov, together with their colleagues at the Stevens Institute of Technology Department of Mathematical Sciences, became increasingly concerned that students at colleges and universities with aptitudes and interests in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines were struggling with Calculus.
Three trends were particularly disturbing:
- Students were dropping or underperforming in Calculus courses at higher than expected rates.
- Many students who completed Calculus courses (sometimes with high grades) were struggling to practically apply Calculus knowledge in advanced STEM courses because they had not truly mastered critical Calculus concepts.
- Promising students were losing confidence, switching to less-demanding majors or completely dropping out of college.
Leveraging their collective research and experiences, they identified several structural roadblocks that hinder students from reaching their highest potential in Calculus, such as:
- Not keeping up with the pace of instruction.
- Failing to learn key concepts and falling further behind.
- Not seeking or receiving help with core concepts in a timely manner.
- Needing detailed explanations and help while solving problems during all times of the day and night.
- Not fully understanding fundamental principles.
- Lacking financial resources to afford a qualified tutor.
The Founders 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 like they do on paper. Additionally, an online learning platform could provide capabilities which simply are not feasible for 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.
Out of their desire to address the need for students to not only pass Calculus, but to nurture a deep understanding of Calculus, Dr. Miasnikov and Dr. Myasnikov envisioned a learning platform that guides students through every problem, step-by-step. While developing the platform, they named it GradariusTM ...the Latin word meaning “progressing step-by-step.”
Making Progress Step by Step
From their passion to address this challenge, Gradarius was born.
The Gradarius Stepwise Calculus Learning Platform is a SaaS (Software as a Service) environment designed for students to construct complex solutions in a free-form manner similar to how they typically solve problems on paper. This free-form interface—unique to Gradarius—allows exploration, discourages memorizing, emphasizes logical steps and develops creative approaches to problem solving while encouraging correct notation, structure and sequencing. Analysis and guidance in solving problems are powered by a unique proprietary symbolic algebra system which is specifically designed to recognize and classify correctly applied skills, as well as misconceptions, occurring during mathematical computations. Since Gradarius collects and analyzes data on each computation and logical step of every student solution, it provides truly personalized guidance for each student, as well as subject-specific analytics for data-driven instruction.
Far surpassing existing software which is primarily focused on assessment, memorization and preparing for tests, Gradarius nurtures the skills needed to solve Calculus problems logically while simultaneously offering instructors not only student solution data, but the thinking behind each approach. To be able to practice and learn to solve problems on their own, students need intelligent software that provides immediate and focused feedback on every step of each solution. Gradarius fulfills these needs, with an ultimate goal of improving Calculus education and outcomes through personalized, immediate coaching.
Far surpassing the limited functionality of paper, Gradarius delivers state-of-the-art capabilities that have eluded math professors, teachers, and tutors for centuries: the ability to immediately offer every student meaningful feedback and guidance during each step.
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GradariusTM and Stepwise Calculus Learning PlatformTM are trademarks of Castle Point Learning Systems.