REDESIGNING MATHEMATICS CURRICULUM: A BUSINESS CALCULUS DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Traditionally, mathematics curriculum has been disconnected from the world which the science of mathematics itself aims to model and explain. Mathematics curriculum at all levels seems to have remained stagnant for decades – if not centuries – and though some efforts for reform are made from time to time, Hoyles, Noss, and Bakker (2010) contend that little has been done in viewing mathematics curriculum as anything more than conventional attempts at general numeracy.
One such course in college level mathematics in which students typically struggle, as argued by Bittinger and Ellenbogen (2008), is Calculus. Calculus requires critical thinking skills above and beyond what is necessary in order to perform arithmetic or be successful in traditional algebra. However, and quite surprisingly, it is algebra skills that are found to be lacking the most among students enrolled in Calculus level courses. This struggle due to lack of algebra skills is further exacerbated in Calculus for Business, Social, and Life Sciences, a Calculus level course usually taken by students on education tracks not considered mathematics-intensive. These students required to take Calculus for Business, Social, and Life Sciences are also usually far less mathematically adept than students on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) tracks.
A proposal for a redesign of a traditional Calculus for Business, Social, and Life Sciences course is hereby described. This proposal presents an alternate curriculum development approach of a non-traditional Calculus course for students in non-mathematics-intensive educational programs who, nonetheless, are required to take a Calculus course to satisfy the general education requirements for their major programs of study. General curriculum design and development concepts are introduced, a course overview and outline is presented, the proposed course structure is defined, and general and detailed learning objectives are listed. Moreover, instructional materials and strategies for both the design and delivery of the course are suggested, including technology recommendations, and a suggested theoretical framework. Finally, evaluation and assessment components of the development process are also discussed and sample lesson plans included.