Mathematics Learning in a Computer Emporium

Description: The use of “emporium”-style mathematics courses for the purpose of teaching basic college math is spreading throughout the United States. These courses are provided in large computer labs where the majority of instruction is received through interaction with a computer program. The software provides students with lessons, practice problems, explanations, and feedback, and the courses typically employ trained professionals available to students if they need one-on-one help. Although a limited number of studies have shown benefits to student achievement, the studies do not provide information about the mathematical competencies gained from a computer-based environment. In our study, we have compared computer-based environments to those of traditional classroom environments for the instruction of an Intermediate Algebra course and have analyzed students’ responses to given mathematical tasks. This research, conducted by researchers who were not involved in the course design and delivery, is an important first step towards determining the extent to which these two contrasting learning environments influence achievement in algebra as well as the extent to which they enable students to use their algebraic knowledge to solve contextual, non-routine mathematical tasks.


Corey Webel

Jason McManus


Webel, C., Krupa, E. E., & McManus, J. (2017). The Math Emporium: Effective for Whom, and For What? International Journal of Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education.

Webel, C., Krupa, E. E., & McManus, J. (2015). Benny Goes to College: Is the “Math Emporium” Reinventing Individually Prescribed Instruction? MathAMATYC Educator, 6(3), 4-13.

Krupa, E. E., Webel, C., & McManus, J. (2014). Undergraduate Students’ Knowledge of Algebra: Evaluating the Impact of Computer-based and Traditional Learning Environments. Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies, 24(5), 442-459.

Conference Presentations

Krupa, E. E., Webel, C., & McManus, J. (2013). Evaluating the Impact of Computer-Based and Traditional Learning Environments on Students’ Knowledge Of Algebra. Paper presented at the 35th Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Chicago, Illinois.