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Facilitating Engineering Mathematics Education By Multidisciplinary Projects

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Integrating Mathematics, Science, and Engineering

Tagged Division

Mathematics

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

12.727.1 - 12.727.14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--2027

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2027

Download Count

47

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Paper Authors

biography

Günter Bischof Joanneum University of Applied Sciences, Department of Automotive Engineering,

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Throughout his career, Dr. Günter Bischof has combined his interest in science and engineering application. He studied physics at the University of Vienna, Austria, and acquired industry experience as development engineer at Siemens Corporation. Currently he teaches engineering mathematics in the Department of Automotive Engineering, Joanneum University of Applied Sciences, and conducts research in automotive engineering and materials sciences.

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Emilia Bratschitsch Joanneum University of Applied Sciences, Department of Automotive

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Emilia Bratschitsch is head of the Department of Vehicle Technologies (Automotive and Railway Engineering) and teaches Electrics, Electronics and Methods of Signal Processing at the University of Applied Sciences Joanneum in Graz (Austria). She is also a visiting lecturer at the Faculty of Transport of the Technical University of Sofia (Bulgaria). She graduated with a degree in Medical Electronics as well as in Technical Journalism from the TU of Sofia and received her PhD from the Technical University of Graz (Austria). She gained industrial experience in automation of control systems, engineering of electronic control systems and software development. Her R&D activities comprise design of signal processing and data analysis methods, modelling, simulation and control of automotive systems as well as Engineering Education.

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Annette Casey Joanneum University of Applied Sciences, Department of Automotive Engineering,

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Annette Casey is an English language trainer in the Department of Automotive Engineering, Joanneum University of Applied Sciences. She graduated from Dublin City University with a degree in Applied Languages (Translation and Interpreting) in 1991. She has been teaching business and technical English both in industry and at university level in Austria for the past 12 years.

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Domagoj Rubesa Joanneum University of Applied Sciences, Department of Automotive Engineering,

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Domagoj Rubeša teaches Engineering Mechanics and Strength of Materials at the University of Applied Sciences Joanneum in Graz (Austria) and is also associated professor in the field of Material Sciences at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Rijeka (Croatia). He graduated as naval architect from the Faculty of Engineering in Rijeka and received his master’s degree from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and his PhD from the University of Leoben (Austria). He has industrial experience in a Croatian shipyard and in the R&D dept. of an Austrian supplier of racing car motor components. He also was a research fellow at the Univ. of Leoben in the field of engineering ceramics. His interests include Mechanical Behaviour of Materials and in particular Fracture and Damage Mechanics and Fatigue, as well as Engineering Education.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Facilitating Engineering Mathematics Education by Multidisciplinary Projects

Abstract

Engineering students generally do not perceive mathematics in the same way as professional mathematicians usually do. They need to have it explained to them why knowledge of mathematics is essential for their studies and their future profession. Project based learning turned out to be a particularly suitable method to demonstrate the need of mathematical methods, since there seems to be no better way of acquiring comprehension than if it arises from personal experience. The students are confronted early on in their courses with challenging problems arising in industry. These problems are usually of a multidisciplinary nature and have in common that the mathematical competencies needed for their solution are slightly beyond the students’ skills. Having realized the gap in their knowledge of mathematical methods, students are eager to bridge it, thus drawing their attention towards their mathematics education. It is important to design the lectures in such a way that the students’ demands are satisfied. Then their attentiveness increases immensely and often leads to interaction and feedback during formal lectures. Sometimes students even ask for additional lectures, which may become necessary to satisfy the needs of some project tasks.

The students are offered a variety of project proposals at the beginning of the semester. They can choose their project work according to their interests. Usually a team of three works on a project, for more comprehensive tasks a team of four students is approved. In this way generic skills required by industry are also developed. Generally, two or three groups are assigned the same task. This introduces a competitive aspect, which in turn increases the students’ motivation. The outcome of some of these undergraduate projects has found application in industry or has been published in professional journals.

In this paper the idea of project based learning in engineering mathematics is exemplified on the basis of students’ projects carried out in the third semester of their degree program.

Introduction

It seems that the critical issue in teaching mathematics to engineering students is to find the right balance between practical applications of mathematical methods and in-depth understanding 1. Project based learning has proved to be a particularly suitable method to demonstrate the need of mathematics in professional engineering. Students are confronted, complementary to their regular courses, with problems that are of a multidisciplinary nature and demand a certain degree of mathematical proficiency. A particularly suitable way of doing so turned out to be the establishment of interdisciplinary project work in the early stages of the degree program.

The courses Information Systems and Programming in the second and third semester of degree program Automotive Engineering at the Joanneum University of Applied Sciences form the basis for project (and problem) based learning. In the second semester the programming language Visual Basic (VB) is introduced. It enables the students to develop graphical user interfaces (GUIs) with comparatively little effort. In the third semester ANSI C, a machine-oriented programming language that enables both the programming of microcontrollers and the implementation of fast algorithms, is taught. Additionally, the

Bischof, G., & Bratschitsch, E., & Casey, A., & Rubesa, D. (2007, June), Facilitating Engineering Mathematics Education By Multidisciplinary Projects Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2027

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