Evoking more pencil erasures and frustrated groans than perhaps any other subject, math is made easier—or at least quicker—in a new option at College of the Mainland.
COM student Jessica Hodgson is the first to complete all four developmental courses in the new modular math format, which allows students to finish courses at their own pace through an interactive computer program. Completing four semesters of work in just two, the student is now ready for college algebra in half the usual time.
“It worked great for me. I wanted to get it done quickly,” said Hodgson.
The program combines technology—through a computer course with video clips and step-by-step instruction—with an instructor available to help assist with tricky problems. Hodgson took quizzes during class time and completed her assigned homework in and outside of class.
“That’s how I understand it, just reading it over and over,” said Hodgson, a general studies student who plans to go into nursing.
Admitting math is not her favorite subject, Hodgson nevertheless determined to excel. When she earned a high B on a quiz and wanted an A, she went for tutoring in the on-campus Math Lab in order to be able to retake the test—and then she earned her A.
"Jessica is the ideal student for the modular classes,” said her professor Susan Morawski, who teaches the second levels of modular math. “She was self-motivated, worked consistently every day and was never absent. She not only completed both elementary and intermediate algebra in one semester but was finished with both before the end of March (well before the end of the semester)."
Hodgson’s success is attainable for any student enrolling in the course who is willing to work.
“The program allows students to accelerate and possibly move through more than one course per semester. She’s done exceptionally well,” said Tami Allison, Academic Success Department Chair. “Faculty have put a great amount of effort into developing the courses, and we are proud of its successes.”

Students move quickly through concepts in which they show mastery while spending time in problem areas. They can also ask instructors, Morawski and Marilyn Larsen, for help navigating challenging problems.