Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Practitioner Research Project undertaken in part completion of the DIT's Postgraduate Diploma in Third Level Learning and Teaching (DT906). For more details please see


Mathematics is the cornerstone of many disciplines, including computer science, accounting and the sciences. However, over the past two decades in higher education institutes, it has become increasingly apparent that there is a decline in the basic numeracy skills of first year students entering third level programs (Tariq, 2002). This has been observed in numerous Irish institutes whereby unfortunately it can also be a huge impediment in student progression into second year. Research has shown that students are under-prepared for the challenges posed by third level mathematics (Hourigan & O’Donoghue, 2007). In addition, as lecturers we are not as informed as we should be about the changes in the Leaving Certificate curriculum which further exacerbates the problem. As lecturers, collectively in our disciplines, we have observed a systematic decline in first year students understanding of basic mathematics and their willingness to engage. To support lecturers and students in DIT the Maths Learning Support Centre (MLSC) was established in 2005 with designated full-time Maths tutors to assist students in their cognitive ability of mathematics. However, not all students who need such support engage with the MLSC for numerous reasons. In addition, there is minimal support for part-time students who attend lectures in the evening when the MLSC is closed. Here, we present data addressing the role of mathematics for first year students in DIT. We argue for the development of the MMEL-Machine E-Learning for Maths, a personalised online platform to support and supplement students’ maths learning in first year.