SCIE1000/1100 Online Modules for Support and Enrichment (SOMSE)

Somse Resource
First Year
Interactive Modules, Video / Audio
Introductory Mathematics, Mathematics and statistics
The University of Queensland
Jan 2021

Modules using video and interactive simulations covering pre-calculus and foundational topics.

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About this resource


This resource provides explanatory videos and interactive simulations which are designed to aid students in their understanding of pre-calculus and foundational topics in mathematics such as modelling with functions (linear, power, sine, exponential), rates of change, Newton’s method, area under the curve, and intro to differential equations. This resource is designed to support a large first year interdisciplinary science course at the University of Queensland. The modules include links to applications of such mathematics, including video interviews with researchers in science.

Development Rationale

This resource (SOMSE) was designed to complement traditional teaching approaches by providing flexible support and encouraging active learning.  In large first year cohorts, there is great variability in student familiarity with “pre-requisite” mathematics, such as the mathematics seen in Maths B or equivalent. While relevant knowledge can be recalled briefly in lectures, this resource allows lecturers to direct students to in-depth support for more extensive revision and engagement. The primary aim of SOMSE is to provide such active learning activities and support for students who need it, while sparing those who are already confident and competent from unnecessary revision.   The second aim of this resource is to link the mathematical techniques discussed with relevant and current research projects in science.  This is to support first-year students to discover the generalisability of such mathematics to problems across many fields. 

Implementation Guide

Many individual module components could be used to support similar courses or other first-year preparation courses in mathematics.  Most likely to be used as a support resource for self-paced study or pre-requisite refresher.

Data of Development

Pilot modules (the modules for “modelling with functions”) were developed over the summer semester of 2018, and were trialled with approximately 1300 students in SCIE1000/1100 over 2019. The pilot modules were used in over 2,000 sessions in the first five weeks of semester (where the content aligns most closely to modelling with functions) and informal feedback students was positive.  The complete resource (SOMSE) was completed at the end of 2019 and has since been used to support approximately 1500 students in SCIE1000/1100.  From January to September 2020, there have been more than 17,000 sessions on the site with an average session time of 14 minutes. Surveys in the last week of the course for SCIE1000 and SCIE1100 in Summer Semester, 2019 and Semester 1, 2020 indicated that a significant proportion (between 41% and 56%) of students report that these modules changed their perceptions of mathematics in a positive way, while around 10% report not using the resource and almost all others report no change in perceptions.  In an unsolicited email, a student from Summer Semester 2019 said, “SOMSE was amazing. A great resource. Videos were great for getting into the details. The interactive one where you guess the function – that is very neat and I was surprised at how close I could get at first attempt, which I think was improved through learning by trial and error, using the tool.”  In a SLOCI (Student-Led Observation for Course Improvement) report from SCIE1000 in Semester 1, 2020, one of the findings based on surveys and focus groups was: “The students responded that they believed the course had adapted to online learning is the best possible way. Aspects that the students think were executed well include the live lectures, Kahoot, SOMSE and the worked solution videos.


Sara Herke (

Adam Piggott (                   

Tim McIntyre (

Saskia Van Ryt (

Juan Ponce Campuzano (

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