June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.627.1 - 13.627.18
Freshman-Level Mathematics in Engineering: A Review of the Literature in Engineering Education Abstract
Mathematics is part of the life-blood of engineering. While it is one of the essential tools for doing engineering, it is believed to be one of the confounding variables tripping students in their learning of the subject. In synthesizing the history of projects and research concerning freshman-level mathematics as studied by engineering educators, this paper provides a report of the patterns and themes engineering faculty have identified with algebra, trigonometry, and calculus and provides a call for topics in future research. Because of a lack of published, peer- reviewed journals connected to the topic, the exploration of themes in this preliminary report focused on ASEE conference proceedings papers.
The papers reviewed will be analyzed to answer the following questions: What aspects of freshman-level mathematics did the authors identify as problematic in their courses? What interventions or changes served as the impetus for publishing? What literature is being used as the context and foundation for engineers for their projects? What direction should future research take?
During the 1990s, congress, industry, and forums began to pressure universities to increase the number of engineering graduates and their knowledge and abilities for the sake of the US economy. Part of the pressure came from reports calling for reform not only of engineering education but also of undergraduate education at the nation’s research universities.1 More recently in 2002, a report by Building Engineering & Science Talent (BEST) opened with the statement, There is a quiet crisis building in the United States — a crisis that could jeopardize the nation’s pre-eminence and well-being. The crisis has been mounting gradually, but inexorably, over several decades. If permitted to continue unmitigated, it could reverse the global leadership Americans currently enjoy. The crisis stems from the gap between the nation’s growing need for scientists, engineers, and other technically skilled workers, and its production of them.2 As a result, engineering faculty have been looking at how and at what they teach in order to address this quiet crisis.
For the past two years, the Journal of Engineering Education (JEE) has trumpeted the need to establish engineering education as a rigorous-based field of study. Rising pressure in its editorials mention the need for engineering faculty to equip and develop the best pedagogical practices, make adjustments to enhance diversity, collect and employ foundational theory knowledge, switch from behaviorist to constructivist paradigms in teaching, and provide educational research that is as rigorous as their engineering-content research.3,4,5,6 Thus, there is a call for engineering faculty to develop their understanding of teaching and learning theory and its applicable practices along with developing as engineering-educational researchers.
James, W., & High, K. (2008, June), Freshman Level Mathematics In Engineering: A Review Of The Literature In Engineering Education Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3769
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