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Choosing and Adapting Technology in a Mathematics Course for Engineers

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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 1

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.288.1 - 23.288.11

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Paper Authors


Jenna Tague Ohio State University

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Jenna Tague is a mathematics education doctoral student at The Ohio State University. She received her B.S. and M.S. in mathematics from Bucknell University and Colorado State University, respectively. Research interests include mathematics for engineering students and problem solving.

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Jennifer Czocher Ohio State University

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Jennifer Czocher is a doctoral candidate in mathematics education at Ohio State University. Her research interests are mathematical modeling and mathematical thinking in STEM disciplines.

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Gregory Richard Baker Ohio State University

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Amanda Roble Ohio State University

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Choosing and Adapting Technology in a Mathematics Course for Engineers The purpose of this report is to describe our ongoing efforts to transform a differentialequations course for engineering students through technology enhancements. We believe that alarge amount of mathematics learning occurs outside of the classroom and therefore outside ofthe traditional instructional setting. Thus, we sought instructional media that would realize ouranywhere/anyplace attitude toward meeting students' needs. In our efforts to reconceptualize thecourse, we aimed to: (1) capitalize on engineering and science points of view to help studentsutilize mathematics within their discipline, and (2) use instructional technology to help theprofessor in achieving this goal. We will report on the means we used to meet the second goaland on our evaluation of our success. With new technologies becoming available daily, the choices for incorporatingtechnology are overwhelming, but there is not much implementation support for instructors. Toaddress this need, we documented our technology choices and the following experiences as wetransitioned from merely appending technology to the course to blending instructional mediawith our course objectives. In our paper, we will share our findings about student usage andresponse, but primacy will be given to articulating the criteria we used for decision making alongthree strands: selecting hardware and software, developing instruments to assess students' use ofthe instructional media, and evaluating the software against students needs and practicalconstraints while ensuring that the technology supported and promoted the themes of the class. We selected LiveScribe's smartpen in order to generate interactive videos of solutions toproblems because it allowed the professor to model his problem solving process. Forconnectivity and lecture capture, we selected Adobe Connect because of its flexibility inallowing the class to slide between a traditional lecture course and a modern hybrid environment.Using mixed-methods approaches, we examined a data set including the video captured lectures,a set of substantive and technical feedback surveys, and documentation of our weekly teammeetings. Preliminary results indicate that the students adapted to the media quickly and found thepencasts helpful for studying or understanding similar problem contexts. This is particularlyrelevant to the engineering students in our course. Since we use life-like examples that arise inengineering contexts to motivate the mathematics (see goal (1)), it is sometimes impossible tocomplete a problem during only one class period. Our instructional technology allows theengineering students to see the full, complex mathematical modeling process as many times andat whatever pace they choose without losing instructor interaction. The benefits are not limitedonly to the differential equations classroom, but could be realized in engineering contexts as well.Our contribution to the engineering education community is (i) a description of how we cancommunicate this mathematical modeling process to students in ways that they can learn from itany time or any where and (ii) an account of our experiences, decisions, and considerations as wedid so.

Tague, J., & Czocher, J., & Baker, G. R., & Roble, A. (2013, June), Choosing and Adapting Technology in a Mathematics Course for Engineers Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.

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