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Board 51: Mathematical Maturity for Engineering Students

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32368

Download Count

1

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Paper Authors

biography

Brian E. Faulkner University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Brian Faulkner's interests include teaching of modeling, engineering mathematics, textbook design, and engineering epistemology.

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Geoffrey L. Herman University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-9501-2295

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Dr. Geoffrey L. Herman is a teaching assistant professor with the Deprartment of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also has a courtesy appointment as a research assistant professor with the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Mavis Future Faculty Fellow and conducted postdoctoral research with Ruth Streveler in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research interests include creating systems for sustainable improvement in engineering education, conceptual change and development in engineering students, and change in faculty beliefs about teaching and learning. He serves as the Publications Chair for the ASEE Educational Research and Methods Division.

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Dong San Choi University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Dong San Choi is a Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Nicole Johnson-Glauch

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Nicole received her B.S. in Engineering Physics at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) in May 2013. She is currently working towards a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) under Professor Angus Rockett and Geoffrey Herman. Her research is a mixture between understanding defect behavior in solar cells and student learning in Materials Science. Outside of research she helps plan the Girls Learning About Materials (GLAM) summer camp for high school girls at UIUC.

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Abstract

General Project Summary for NSF grantees poster session

Project Motivation

Progress through standard mathematics coursework represents a major barrier to engineering student graduation rates. Long prerequisite chains of mathematics courses have high failure rates, and must be passed to enter engineering coursework. This project aimed to investigate the mathematical expectations of engineering faculty, particularly the ambiguous quality of “mathematical maturity” seen in some engineering-mathematics education research during interviews or workshops. This research aims to create better understanding how engineering faculty perceive the mathematical needs of their students.

Interview Findings

Interviews with 34 engineering faculty members at 7 institutions revealed a number of common themes that were very similar across disciplines and between institution types. Engineering faculty members stressed the importance of students’ ability to apply mathematics to the physical domain. Engineering faculty reported that students did not seem to believe that the mathematics they had previously learned was relevant to their current studies in engineering. Engineering faculty stressed the need for students to be able to flexibly represent physical entities in a variety of symbolic and graphical forms. In addition, while faculty emphasized that fast fluency with basic mathematical calculations remains very important, the ubiquity of computers changes where students mathematical training should focus its emphasis.

Survey Research

One round of survey data has been collected, investigating student beliefs about mathematics. This first round used two existing instruments from the literature to probe student beliefs about how relevant mathematics was to their engineering studies. Initial results are similar to those in previous literature by Flegg et al, but have a small response rate. We are currently preparing a second launch of the student survey aimed at achieving a larger sample for greater confidence in the results.

Faulkner, B. E., & Herman, G. L., & Choi, D. S., & Johnson-Glauch, N. (2019, June), Board 51: Mathematical Maturity for Engineering Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32368

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