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CCLI: Evaluation of a Cost Effective Program for Augmenting Calculus with Engineering Content

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.275.1 - 23.275.10



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Paper Authors


Jeremiah J. Neubert University of North Dakota

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Jeremiah Neubert is Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of North Dakota. He conducted research and taught at Cambridge University. Prior to that Dr. Neubert attended the University of Wisconsin and obtained a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering as well as Masters
of Science degrees in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering. During his time at the University of Wisconsin he served as a National Science GK12 fellow where he worked with a team of high school teachers and colleagues at the University ofWisconsin-Madison to develop modules for secondary school

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Deborah Worley University of North Dakota

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Naima Kaabouch University of North Dakota


Mohammad Khavanin Professor of Mathematics at University of North Dakota

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Mohammad Khavanin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics , University of North Dakota. Dr. Khavanin’s teaching interests include applied mathematics and differential equations. He has over 25 years experience in teaching Calculus to undergraduate students of different majors. He was the recipient of a grant proposal from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Education) to prepare secondary school teachers to effectively teach mathematics through problem solving with practical applications.

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CCLI: Evaluation of a Cost Effective Program for Augmenting Calculus with Engineering ContentDespite significant improvements made in engineering education, student persistence remains aconcern [1]. The most significant factors to student persistence are a lack of quantitative skills(both perceived and real), poor study habits, and a lack of commitment to engineering as anacademic major. Students who leave engineering to pursue another degree most often cite math,specifically calculus, as the most influential factor in their decision [2]. To address thisphenomenon, a low cost, easy to implement program was presented in [3] which employed 16modules to augment calculus with engineering content. The modules, which are freely availableupon request, contain real world engineering problems that students solve through theapplication of calculus concepts. Students attempted to solve the modules and discussed them insmall groups. The discussions were facilitated by engineering peer mentors who guided studentsthrough the solution and encouraged discussion of key calculus concepts.Students were recruited into the program during the fall 2011 and the spring 2012 semesters.The recruiting process involved a ten minute presentation in Calculus I and Calculus II courses atthe beginning each semester. The presentation provided a brief description of the program andemphasized that it was voluntary. Participation was encouraged through the offer of up to fivepercent extra credit. To receive full credit students needed to attempt the modules and attendseven of the eight discussion sessions. The amount of extra credit was scaled downproportionally based on their participation.Both online and paper surveys were used to gather data on students’ experiences in the program.Completing the surveys was optional and had no effect on the amount of extra credit a studentwas awarded. The first instrument, the Calculus Knowledge and Perspectives (CKP) Survey wasadministered to students participating in the engineering peer mentor-led study sessions (n=89).Participating students completed the survey after attending approximately four mentor-led studysessions. The second instrument, the Modules and Mentors (MM) Survey, was administered tothe same population after all of the mentor-led study sessions were completed (n=51).Preliminary results indicate that the modules were an effective method for augmenting calculuswith engineering content and that students benefited from participating in the program. The useof modules and mentors increased student interest in calculus without having to modify theexisting calculus course. Moreover, students enjoyed the modules and were better prepared forsuccess in calculus after participating in the discussion sessions. Students also felt that thediscussions with their peers was beneficial and helped them feel connected to engineering.References[1] M. Johnson, S. Sheppard, “Students Entering and Exiting the Engineering Pipeline— Identifying Key Decision Points and Trends,” Proc. of Frontiers in Education Conf., November 2002, pp. S3C-13 – S3C-19.[2] R. Hensel, J. Sigler, A. Lowery, “Breaking The Cycle Of Calculus Failure: Models of Early Math Intervention to Enhance Engineering Retention,” Proc. of ASEE Annual Conf. & Expo., 2008.[3] J. Neubert, D. Worley, N. Kaabouch, "Using Undergraduate Mentors to Deliver Engineering Content to Calculus for Increased Persistence in Engineering," Proc. of ASEE Annual Conf. & Expo., June 2011.

Neubert, J. J., & Worley, D., & Kaabouch, N., & Khavanin, M. (2013, June), CCLI: Evaluation of a Cost Effective Program for Augmenting Calculus with Engineering Content Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19289

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