About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 5220 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN ENGINEERING AND MATH COURSES: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATIVE PROJECT

A. Kurepa

North Carolina A&T State University (UNITED STATES)
In this paper we describe and analyze the effects of a collaborative project between mathematics and engineering instructors focusing on smoothing the transition from mathematics to engineering courses.

Mathematics and engineering instructors face a problem regarding the “disconnect” students show between the mathematics and engineering courses. Students often complain that the math courses they take have no relevance to their major, even when there is an overlap of material. This is in part due to the students’ limited perspective and the variety of approaches and notations used to teach the same material, as well as to the instructors’ failure to acknowledge the connections.

Math instructors need to prepare students for engineering courses and applications on the one hand and engineering instructors need to build on the math concepts to introduce their problems and applications on the other hand. A smooth transition is usually not present and new ideas are needed in order to improve student learning. An interdisciplinary collaborative “bridging” project that is currently underway is designed to help students better appreciate the importance and application of mathematics in their engineering majors.

The model was primarily implemented in the Differential Equations and Linear Algebra mathematics courses, that are required for most engineering students. For a number of students those courses are the last math classes they will take. Thus, the reasoning is that the gap that exists between math and engineering courses could be addressed and possibly bridged with new ideas and teaching methods at that point in the students’ college education.

The project is modeled on collaborative learning. Students form groups of 3-4 based on their major. In collaboration with engineering professors from specific fields, a set of examples and problems is selected and compiled. These problems use the notation, language and interpretation directly from their discipline. Therefore, students are getting their “first encounter’ with some of the applications of differential equations and linear algebra in their major, so they are at least familiar with it when they see it again in the engineering course. ( They are encouraged to keep their notes on the problem to help them review when they come across it in their engineering course). Around 80 students participate in the project every year. A selected group of projects is presented at the special poster session in April at the Math Awareness Day mini-conference. This paper analyzes the data regarding student understanding of the subject, self-confidence, and interest in the subject and compares the results to a control group that did not participate in project.
@InProceedings{KUREPA2010BRI,
author = {Kurepa, A.},
title = {BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN ENGINEERING AND MATH COURSES: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATIVE PROJECT},
series = {2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN10 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-9386-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {5-7 July, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {5220}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Kurepa
TI - BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN ENGINEERING AND MATH COURSES: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATIVE PROJECT
SN - 978-84-613-9386-2/2340-1117
PY - 2010
Y1 - 5-7 July, 2010
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN10 Proceedings
SP - 5220
EP - 5220
ER -
A. Kurepa (2010) BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN ENGINEERING AND MATH COURSES: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATIVE PROJECT, EDULEARN10 Proceedings, p. 5220.
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