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Application-Centric Math Curriculum for Electrical Engineering Majors

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2022 ASEE Gulf Southwest Annual Conference


Prairie View, Texas

Publication Date

March 16, 2022

Start Date

March 16, 2022

End Date

March 18, 2022

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Maila Hallare Norfolk State University

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Dr. Maila Hallare is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mathematics, Norfolk State University. Her research interests include number theory, mathematical modeling, differential equations, mathematics education, and best practices on mathematics teaching.

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Shahrooz Moosavizadeh Norfolk State University

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Professor and former Chair of the Department of Mathematics at Norfolk State University with more than thirty years of teaching experience. In addition to his teaching workload, Prof. Moosavizadeh is currently the Principal Investigator of an NSF collaborative research grant: A National Consortium for Synergic for Synergistic Undergraduate Mathematics via Multi-institutional Interdisciplinary Teaching Partnership (SUMMIT-P) and the director of the First Day Success Program at Norfolk State University.

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Makarand Deo Norfolk State University

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Dr. Makarand Deo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at Norfolk State University. Dr. Deo has earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering from University of Calgary, Canada. His graduate and undergraduate degrees are from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and University of Pune, India, respectively. After PhD, Dr. Deo joined the reputed Center for Arrhythmia Research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, for his postdoctoral training followed by a research faculty position at the University of Toledo, OH. Dr. Deo's research interests are in computational modeling of bioelectrical systems and optics-based biosensing. Dr. Deo’s research has been funded by National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association.

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Inadequate math-preparedness among freshman engineering students has been an enduring challenge for Historical Black College and Universities (HBCUs). Due to poor placement in math courses, most of the students spend an average of 1-2 years clearing the math prerequisites and consequently also show poor performance in math-intensive engineering courses. It is observed that the students are not able to link their math knowledge to the engineering applications covered in their subsequent engineering courses, because of different terminology and teaching focus. At Norfolk State University, the Engineering and Mathematics departments partnered with each other to address this issue through redesigning of pre-requisite freshman math courses for engineering majors. Hands-on application modules based on Electrical, Electronics and Biomedical Engineering topics were created for pre-calculus, calculus and differential equations courses for engineering majors. Examples of application modules include graphical analysis of electrocardiogram (ECG) signals, first- and second-order differential equations using electrical circuit responses, and wireless power transfer. Several novel delivery methods were employed such as hands-on sessions in engineering labs using portable hardware kits, team-teaching by engineering and mathematics faculty and co-teaching freshman (calculus) and sophomore (differential equations) classes to enable student interaction and networking during the application modules. The engineering applications were designed in such a way that the same application was used in both freshman and sophomore classes for reinforcement via repeatability, albeit at different level of analysis. For example, the modeling of an engineering application was presented as a topic of discussion in the differential equations course, while the solution to the model was heavily studied and analyzed in the calculus course. Student engagement and learning was assessed through carefully designed lab worksheets and team activities. Student feedback was obtained by survey instrument and student interviews at the end of the semester. The introduction of discipline-specific content in an engaging way in pre-requisite math courses provided a unique learning experience to the students that will empower them to transfer their math knowledge to subsequent advanced engineering courses.

Hallare, M., & Moosavizadeh, S., & Deo, M. (2022, March), Application-Centric Math Curriculum for Electrical Engineering Majors Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Gulf Southwest Annual Conference, Prairie View, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--39162

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