San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
25.175.1 - 25.175.9
Introductory Mathematics Computer CourseWe feel the paper fits best to:1 The Mathematics Division2 First-year Programs Division (FPD)AbstractMathematical comprehension and proficiency are some of the most important utensils of engi-neers and natural scientists. Based on the high degree of abstraction of mathematics for mostfreshmen the biggest problems in transition from high school to university appear in mathematicsfor non-mathematicians. Additionally, as opposed to high school, success at the university re-quires self-organized learning to manage the unusually high density of the syllabus. At big uni-versities this is felt especially serious, as the individual easily gets lost in the shuffle. Many uni-versities are offering “bridge courses” or preparatory courses to bridge the gap between highschool and university. At least at German universities, as far as the authors know, these are addi-tional courses and they are intended as a repetition of the mathematics that (should) have beenlearned at high school. Additionally, some courses are designed to give the freshmen the oppor-tunity to discover their strength and weakness. In order to facilitate the transition from highschool to university the Department of Mathematics offers a four-week bridge course beforeeach semester. In this course mathematics on the level of an advanced high school course is re-peated. The course consists of a daily 2h lecture plus 2h exercise. Before the summer semesterregularly 300-400 and before the winter semester 800-1000 freshmen participate in the course.Mathematics Computer CourseWe offer a so-called mathematics computer course for a part of the participants of the introduc-tory mathematics course, additionally. Two participants each work together on one computer inthe computer pool. In this two-week course the participants learn how to handle the Linux oper-ating system, the employment of a computer algebra system and obtain an introduction to the Ascientific text processing system L TEX. Mathematics as a universal tool for users is the connect-ing component. In the course exercises of the introductory mathematics course are addressed. Aproblem from the engineer’s everyday life is to be solved as final assignment, to which allknowledge obtained from the course has to be used. The course is offered since 2005 with up to200 participants before the summer semester and 400 participants before the winter semester.In several mathematics courses the students are working in the computer pool of the Departmentof Mathematics which is using the Linux operating system. Therefore, a short introduction intoLinux is integrated into the mathematics computer course. At this early stage of their academiceducation we are emphasizing the mathematical comprehension which can be supported in anideal way by a computer algebra system instead of numerical software. For mathematicians, natu- Aral scientists and engineers L TEX is the most used scientific text processing system, especiallyfor technical documents, BSc-, MSc- or PhD theses full of mathematical formula. Thus, we inte- A Agrated into the course a short introduction to L TEX. For most participants the power of L TEX isamazing and they are eager to learn more about the system. The mathematics computer coursebenefits from the freshmen’s interest in the computer employment and connects it with the im-parting and above all independent exercise of mathematics. Pupils are used to handling of thecomputer indeed and also use it as a source of information and for communication. However, theemployment as a tool for research and teachings is unfamiliar. Thus, an emphasis of the courselies in conveying the employment of the computer as a tool for research.
Jeschke, S., & Pfeiffer, O. F., & Hasan, O. M., & Zorn, E. (2012, June), An Introductory Mathematics Computer Course as a Supplement to a Mathematical Bridge Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20935
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