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A Comprehensive Approach on Delivering Calculus to Engineering Students

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Approaches to Mathematics Curriculum to Include Projects and Technologies

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Page Count


Page Numbers

24.35.1 - 24.35.8



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Paper Authors


Charles C.Y. Lam California State University, Bakersfield

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Dr. Charles C.Y. Lam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics. Dr. Lam received his Ph.D. in Combinatorics and Optimization from the University of Waterloo. His research areas are in cryptography, digital watermarking, and combinatorics. He has mentored various undergraduate student researchers as a faculty mentor for the LSAMP and McNair Scholars Program. He has extensive experience in undergraduate curriculum, research, and mentoring. Dr. Lam is currently the Project Director of CSUB’s US Department of Education Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) grant (P120A110050). He is also the co-PI of NSF Federal Cyber Service grant (NSF-DUE1241636).

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Melissa Danforth California State University, Bakersfield

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Melissa Danforth is an Associate Professor and the Interim Chair of the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at CSUB. Dr. Danforth is the PI for a NSF Federal Cyber Service grant (NSF-DUE1241636) to create models for information assurance education and outreach. Dr. Danforth is the acting Project Director for a U.S. Department of Education grant (P031S100081) to create engineering pathways for students in the CSUB service area. She is also the Activities Director for a U.S. Department of Education MSEIP grant (P120A110050) to develop an engineering calculus sequence and engineering outreach programs. Her research interests are focused on network and system security, particularly with respects to protecting mission-critical resources and services. She is also conducting research in applying biological concepts to cybersecurity, such as artificial immune systems.

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Ronald Hughes CSUB STEM Affinity Group

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(2009-Present) Associate Professor for the STEM Affinity Group, School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, California State University, Bakersfield. Duties included teaching responsibilities in Undergraduate Biology, Graduate Level Science Curriculum, Philosophy, and Issues; Elementary and Secondary Science Methods; Student Teacher Supervision, and Educational Technology. Additional duties included grant writing, management, and evaluation; and university committees.

Include teaching and learning cognition skills, informal learning environments and strategies, and curriculum design.

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A Comprehensive Approach on Delivering Calculus to Engineering Students Abstract Beginning in the 2010-11 academic year, University XXX successfully competedfor federal grants to fund the development of engineering programs, which the campuspreviously lacked. From the 2011-12 academic year, the university added three newengineering programs in general engineering, computer engineering, and electricalengineering. With the new programs, there is a significant increase in the demand forCalculus classes. Additionally, engineering students have unique demands that differfrom those of a mathematics student. The additional need enabled the MathematicsDepartment to introduce Engineering Calculus courses specifically designed for thecohort of new students. With the help of Department of Education grant YYY, severalexperimental approaches are introduced for these Calculus courses, and a full sequenceimplementation started in 2012-13. A typical mathematics quarter course at the university consists of 4 credit hours oflecture, and a 1 credit hour student activity session per week for 10 week. The completeCalculus course sequence consists of 4 quarter courses. The Engineering Calculus courseis designed such that there is no compromise in the rigorous treatment of Calculus, whileaddressing the specific needs of Engineering majors. The following enhancements weremade to the Engineering Calculus courses: 1. The new course includes 4 credit hours of lecture and a 2.5-hour student activity session per week. The student activity period involves group discussion of calculus problems and applications of mathematics in physics and engineering. 2. An undergraduate student tutor is present in the student activity period to enhance the learning experience. 3. An Engineering faculty is involved as a consultant to course curriculum. 4. Additional upper level Engineering and Mathematics majors are hired as mathematics tutors in the walk-in mathematics tutoring center. The tutoring center is open 6 days a week. 5. Beginning in the academic year 2013-14, lectures in applications of mathematics in physics and engineering will be embedded in the first two calculus courses. A full year of assessment of the calculus sequence was carried out in the academicyear 2012-13. Assessment tools included pre- and post-course student surveys and gradereports. Preliminary results indicate a lower attrition rate in the Engineering Calculuscourses. Surveys also show improved student attitude towards studying mathematics.This project is a work-in-progress.

Lam, C. C., & Danforth, M., & Hughes, R. (2014, June), A Comprehensive Approach on Delivering Calculus to Engineering Students Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--19927

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