AUTOMATIC VERBALIZATION OF MATHEMATICAL FORMULAE FOR WEB-BASED LEARNING RESOURCES IN AN ON-LINE ENVIRONMENT
1 Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (SPAIN)
2 Maths for More (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Engineering students have traditionally had a lot of difficulty in reaching the objectives they have to cover, laid out in the different Mathematics courses. In a distance learning environment, both the learning methodology and the students’ profile (adults with family and professional responsibilities and with usually insufficient previous knowledge levels) are elements which aggravate these difficulties. In particular, it is mathematical notation which is necessary and ubiquitous in this kind of learning that presents a problem for the expression of content: verbalization is not a simple task and it is not easy to write using common digital resources. This second factor is especially significant in distance learning.
Mathematical expression verbalization tools have been developed with the goal of improving teaching quality in courses requiring scientific and technical notation unknown to many students. These tools have been integrated in web-based learning material, written in MathML, pertaining to a basic mathematics course for engineering at the UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya). A first test with a group of students has been carried out with very satisfactory results, which are shown in this paper. It is shown, also, some results from the logs that give clues about how students use the tool.
Because of this initial success, we believe that this application improves the communication competences of students in courses with high mathematical content, reducing semantic confusion and so easing communication between students and teachers. From a technological point of view, it means including a new functionality to a formulae editor based on the MathML standard.
Keywords: mathematical notation, verbalization, online engineering students, mathml.