Editor’s note: Many students refer to the MALL as “Math Lab.” The Math Lab provides “tutoring for students enrolled in mathematics courses here at UCF” whereas the MALL is the actual location where math students must attend 3 hours per week to fulfill their math requirement.
As an incoming freshman, one of the first pieces of advice UCF students get is to NOT take math at UCF.
Many students who have taken a math course at UCF could attest to the hassle it is to take math here. As the school year goes on, it becomes more apparent that taking a UCF math course is frowned upon by the student body. Why is math at our university such a terrible thing to take?
Students around campus told KnightNews.com just what makes taking math at UCF so much trouble and the answer to the question soon became clear: the M.A.L.L.
The Mathematics Assistance and Learning Lab, also known as the M.A.L.L., was established at UCF in 2008. The MALL is composed of three rooms with 312 total computers. Students in Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus must complete a total of three hours a week in the lab for a hefty portion of their grade.
The MALL was created to help students succeed in their math courses and have access to help in addition to classroom time. However, the main complaint about the The MALL is that the mandatory hours are annoying and unnecessary.
“Math lab would be fine and all but the three hour long requirement felt pretty steep. I usually finish all my homework in less than three hours with a 100% and fiddle my thumbs until the three hour mark is reached,” says freshman Jamie Ma.
Danielle Reyes, a junior, views the MALL in the same way as Ma.
“I think the math lab is pointless because it’s a waste of time. If you finish all your homework you still have to meet the requirement of three hours. The people there aren’t helpful because there are too many students and not enough tutors to help,” Reyes said.
Freshmen Robin Kintz and Ashton Lewis have a similar annoyance with the MALL.
“I would rather be doing homework in my own room, Kintz said.
Similarly, Lewis commented “I think it’s a waste of time and that we shouldn’t be forced to do homework in an environment we don’t want to be in. I don’t want to have to commute to a place for a grade that I can do on my own at my place.”
Sophomore Leesa Honeywell described the lab as “stifling.”
Another major complaint about the MALL is the restricted operating hours students have to work around to fulfill their weekly requirements. Sophomore Aaron Smith was so aggravated by the limited hours that he began a petition to extend MALL hours.
“I found myself extremely stressed out trying to get my hours done,” Smith said. “Eventually it began to affect my grade, and eventually, I got angry.”
The MALL is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, and 1-6 p.m. Sunday. Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala, the UCF Senior Communications Coordinator responded that the hours are established based on student use.
“We evaluate the hours and staffing levels each semester,” Kotala said.
Despite this, Smith and many other students do not believe the hours are enough.
“If hours were extended, students would not have the pressure to get the 3 long, arduous hours done. They’d be relieved of a lot of stress and they’d feel more like the Math Lab is an ally rather than a drill sergeant,” Smith stated.
Besides his petition, Smith feels so strongly about extending the Math Lab hours that he said he’d even be willing to operate the lab himself.
“I would be more than happy to personally offer my time to the MALL, to operate the sign in/out services to keep the lab open for students on the weekend. I would work all day to see that happen. The MALL has helped me, but it has also hurt me,” Smith said.
“I think that if it’s required, it should be made available to do at times convenient to students. Otherwise, it doesn’t help students. There’s nothing worse than remembering that you’ve got 3 hours to do, when the MALL is about to close in 1 hour,” Smith said.
Freshman Kaitlyn Burke agrees that the hours are not enough, especially when tackling a job on top of her school work.
When asked if she believed that extended hours would help resolve the dislike towards the Math Lab, Burke responded “I do believe an extension of MALL hours would help because I work 8:30 to 5 and with classes I have to attend to it is hard to find time to make it to the MALL. I believe the MALL should be open from 9 p.m.-12 a.m. because at this time many students are off of work and are working on homework at this time anyways.”
Burke also brought up the argument that we pay just as much for our math courses as we do for our face to face classes.
“I feel ripped off that we do not have that much class time to enforce concepts that we are supposed to learn in the MALL,” Burke said.
She argues that our credit hour tuition is funding the Math Lab operations whereas the university can fund The Writing Center or other tutoring without taking away the valuable face to face component of the classes.
Freshman Jerilyn Pollock agrees with Burke in the fact that the face to face component of the class is more beneficial than MALL hours.
“I would rather have a 3 hour math class than a 50 minute class and 3 hours in a math lab,” she says.
KnightNews.com reached out to UCF in regards to this issue and retrieved several statistics relating to the lab.
There are a total of 312 computers in the lab. So far this semester, no more than 180 have been in use at the same time, UCF said. Also, the number of students enrolled in the MALL courses has significantly gone down, according to UCF. Currently, there are 2,709 students taking these classes. In the fall of 2012, the Math Lab reached its peak at 6,100.
This issue can be linked to word of mouth getting around about the distaste towards the lab and students taking math at other colleges. Freshman Danielle Moore heard about the Math Lab from her friends and decided to fulfill her math requirement somewhere else. Many are also doing the same.
“To be honest, I plan on taking college algebra at Valencia. As a college student you already have a lot to worry about; other classes and a job. Adding on 3 hours of math lab a week doesn’t fit into everybody’s schedule,” Moore said.
Do you agree that the Math Lab isn’t helpful? Comment below and let us know what you think or of your Math Lab experience.