Edwards, P., 2002. MathinSite: web-based material for deepening the mathematical insight of engineering undergraduates. In: 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, October 2002, Berlin. (Unpublished)
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Official URL: http://www.asee.org/acPapers/2002-924_Final.pdf
Many engineering undergraduates have problems with mathematics. Even areas of school mathematics – invariably including algebra - sometimes have to be reinforced at undergraduate level. A bar to learning is often a lack of an understanding and this is where visualisations sometimes help - either by setting problems in an engineering context, or by using graphical visualisations. In the latter case, the maxim, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is most appropriate. Even if students have problems rearranging mathematical equations, they can, almost always, “read”, understand and draw graphs. Now a graph is basically a visualisation of a mathematical equation, be it as simple as the straight-line equation or as complicated as the solution of a second-order partial differential equation. Consequently, displaying the graph of (i.e. visualising) an equation can help deepen student understanding of the mathematics behind that equation. During the early 1990s, the author wrote and presented for student use some graphical mathematics software using Visual Basic. Through its use, students began to realise what was happening with the equations they were investigating - and realised that engineering mathematics could be enjoyable (evidenced, in part, by students talking and enthusing about mathematics, and using the software in their own time). With the bursary accompanying a UK National Teaching Fellowship, the author is currently developing the above-mentioned work into the MathinSite web site using interactive Java applets with a strong graphical content. This paper will discuss the rationale and philosophy behind the use of MathinSite in deepening engineering students’ mathematical understanding - a rationale and philosophy that could be adopted in other areas of engineering education.
|Item Type:||Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)|
|Subjects:||Science > Mathematics|
Technology > Engineering > General Engineering
|Group:||School of Design, Engineering & Computing|
|Deposited By:||Ms MJ Bowden|
|Deposited On:||15 May 2007|
|Last Modified:||07 Mar 2013 14:37|
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