Fostering Training for Emporium Inustructional Support Staff

Central Piedmont Mathematics Division offers all eight DMA courses in an Emporium learning environment. This mode of instructional delivery has required the addition of a team of part-time support staff. “Instructional Assistants” are present during scheduled classes to provide one-on-one assistance to students as they work through required web-based learning activities. “Emporium lab assistants” facilitate activities in our large Emporium classroom including informing and directing students and visitors, managing print services, working as peer mentors in our S.O.S. Math program, and maintaining physical lab resources.

From our initial pilot in summer 2012 through the present, our instructional support team has grown from 2 instructional assistants in the first course section, to the present team of 30 instructional assistants and 4 Emporium lab assistants/peer mentors. This tremendous growth has required the development of consistent training mechanisms for new and continuing members of our instructional support team. The training elements we have developed target instructional best practices through active learning techniques such as contextualized scenarios and simulations. We have sought to foster team members’ knowledge of the Emporium movement from a national perspective, CPCC college policies and resources, as well as a general sense of community and support. The result has been encouraging, though we still see opportunities for growth and improvement.

One method we have developed is to send periodic Emporium staff updates via e-mail with tips for best practices, announcements, reminders, etc… Specifically, the tips we have developed center around strategies for student engagement that we have found to be especially important. Here is a sample “Tip for Success” that we sent out recently:

    Greet your students well! Use the acronym “F.A.N.”

With Friendliness – greet students with a Friendly smile and a kind word of encouragement
With Assessment – use questions to assess understanding

  • What steps have you taken so far?
  • How would you begin this problem?
  • Which step is most difficult for you?
  • What do you recall from the (textbook, video, PowerPoint) about this concept?

By Name – greet the student by Name (the student’s name can be located in the upper-right corner of their screen when logged into MyMathLab).

Central Piedmont will provide the full body of Tips for Success and more valuable information and training resources at the NCMATYC conference this spring. Please make plans to connect with us at the conference, or contact the Math Emporium Program Coordinator, Andrea Brant, at

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