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Implementation Of An Online Multimedia Collaborative Linear Algebra Tutoring System

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

The Use of Technology in Teaching Math

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.660.1 - 8.660.11

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Paper Authors

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Carlos Morales

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

Session 1665

Implementation of an On-Line Multimedia Collaborative Linear Algebra Tutoring System Carlos R. Morales, Nishant Kothary Purdue University, Knoy Hall, Room 363, West Lafayette, IN, 47907

Abstract Few courses undertaken by students in their first two years of engineering education are as abstract as linear algebra. The content is not only critical for future success, but considerably difficult at the same time, because most students are unfamiliar with abstract mathematical concepts at that point in their lives. Many courses around the nation augment their traditional instruction by exposing their students to computer algebra systems (CAS) such as MatLab, Mathematica, MathCad, Maple, etc. While these tools are great for analysis, they are not designed to be primary instructional tools. These tools favor those students that have a stronger theoretical understanding of the concepts, but do little to help them develop a better understanding of these. The author presents the development of an online multimedia collaboration tool that actively teaches the students basic linear algebra concepts. The system utilizes non-linear broadcast quality video and interactive 3D graphics in a multi-user environment. A pseudo intelligent mechanism analyzes the learner’s choices and modifies instructional delivery based on a predetermined instructional-objectives map. The system in not meant to replace classroom instruction or utilization of computational CAS systems. Its primary purpose is to provide supplemental tutoring aid while fostering visualization skills in the learner.

Introduction and background In order for students to succeed in technology or engineering they must master higher-level mathematical concepts. In Computer Graphics Technology mastery of Linear Algebra is critical.

A difficulty that many students encounter is the manner in which mathematics is taught at most of the larger universities. At Universities such as Purdue, students go to large lectures of 400 to 500 students. Lectures are usually supplemented by “recitation” sessions which have class sizes of 20-30 students.

The lack of immediate feedback and adequate resources for students is often a problem. In a large class, the availability of instructors is often limited. The materials that are available to the students for self-help are of utmost importance. Mastery of concepts often comes down to a rigid homework schedule that forces students to methodically work through important problem sets. At this point in time, most students are still unfamiliar with the language of Mathematics. Thus refering to a second book is often fruitless. For example, if a student is confused by an explanation for Taylor polynomials supplied in James Stewart’s book, he has the option of looking into Thomas/Finney’s book for a slightly different or more eludicating perspective on the same concept[1][2]. In reality, this does not work for engineering/technology students because they do not know the language of mathematics. Mathematics books are unlike books in the social sciences, where the same subject matter might be approached from slightly different

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Morales, C. (2003, June), Implementation Of An Online Multimedia Collaborative Linear Algebra Tutoring System Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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