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A Departmental Initiative to Effectively Incorporate Technology Use in Engineering Mathematics Education: A Case Study

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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

24.43.1 - 24.43.12

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Paper Authors


Jeffrey Lloyd Hieb University of Louisville

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Jeffrey L. Hieb is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at the University of Louisville and has been a faculty member since 2008. In 1992 Jeff graduated cum laude from Furman University with Bachelor degrees in Computer Science and Philosophy. Returning to his native Louisville, he worked for more than ten years in a family business before returning to graduate school in 2003. Jeff completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science Engineering at the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering in 2008. Since completing his degree, Jeff has been teaching engineering mathematics courses to first and second year engineering students and continuing his dissertation research with Dr. James H. Graham. The focus of their research has been on high assurance security solutions for industrial control system field devices. For the past three years their research has been funded by the National Institute for Hometown Security. Jeff is also interested in educational technology, working to develop and evaluate effective uses of Tablet PCs for classroom instruction.

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Patricia A Ralston University of Louisville

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Dr. Patricia A. S. Ralston is Chair of the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at the University of Louisville. She also has an associate appointment in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Ralston teaches undergraduate engineering mathematics and is currently involved in educational research on the effective use of Tablet PCs in engineering education, the incorporation of critical thinking in undergraduate engineering education, and retention of engineering students. Her fields of technical expertise include process modeling, simulation, and process control.

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A Departmental Initiative to Effectively Incorporate Technology Use in Engineering Mathematics Education: A Case Study AbstractThe paper presents a case study of the ongoing efforts of the department of XX at a medium-sized, urbanuniversity, to incorporate educational technology in its engineering mathematics courses. In 2007 the XXSchool of Engineering formed a new department, with primary focus on first year engineering education.The department teaches Introduction to Engineering, Engineering Graphics, and Engineering Mathematicscourses, with the majority of student credit hours in Engineering Mathematics. Part of the Department’smission is to improve retention of first year engineering students, and success in the first year, especiallyin mathematics is critical for retention (Edge and Friedberg, 1984). One effort towards this objective hasbeen a departmental effort to incorporate of a variety of educational technologies into the engineeringmathematics courses. The department has worked to see that the use of educational technologies isreasonably consistent across courses and faculty, and that the use of the technologies persists beyondany initial pilot phase. The ongoing challenge is to assess these efforts as part of departmental strategicplanningThe educational technologies that are now an integrated part of the engineering mathematics sequenceinclude: 1) a custom multi-media textbook, 2) the classroom interaction system DyKnow® coupled withstudents Tablet PCs, and 3) the online interactive system MyMathLab®, which provides students withalgorithmically generated problems, computer scoring of their results, and various learning aids. Allfaculty who teach engineering mathematics courses now use DyKnow® and the department has createda set of reference lecture notes which are available to all faculty. Similarly, the use of MyMathLab® is nowan integral part of the sequence of calculus-based, engineering analysis courses, Engineering Analysis I, II,and III. Using MyMathLab®, the Introduction to Calculus course, a remedial course for those admittedstudents who are not calculus ready, has been redesigned as an emporium model (Twigg, 2011) class thatis being pilot-tested in Fall 2013.This case study describes the approach taken by the department in adopting these technologies, how theywere and are used, how challenges were met, and what challenges remain. The major ongoing challengeis determining the best way to assess the impact of these educational technologies on student learningand evaluate the overall effectiveness of the mathematics program. Most departmental faculty agreethat the technologies provide great benefit to students, but measuring those benefits continues topresent challenges. This paper presents some preliminary results of studies that show improvement toDFW rates, but more importantly describes the department’s plan to measure effectiveness by trackingstudents’ progression time through the sequence as well as students’ performance in other keyengineering courses in undergraduate engineering programs.Edge, O. and Friedberg, S., “Factors Affecting Achievement in the First Course in Calculus”, Journal ofExperimental Education, Vol. 52 (3), 1984, pp. 136-140.Twigg, Carol A. 2011. “The Math Emporium: Higher Education’s Silver Bullet.” Change 43 (3): 25–34.

Hieb, J. L., & Ralston, P. A. (2014, June), A Departmental Initiative to Effectively Incorporate Technology Use in Engineering Mathematics Education: A Case Study Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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