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JITAR Online Modules to Improve Math Preparation of Engineering Students: Preliminary Results

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1047.1 - 26.1047.16



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Paper Authors


Hatice O. Ozturk North Carolina State University

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Dr. Hatice Ozturk is a Teaching Associate Professor at North Carolina State University, Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. She is the coordinator of assessment and accreditation in both departments. Her engineering education area of research is development of instructional technologies for successful math to engineering transition. She also collaborates with faculty in Women's and Gender Studies to study the impacts of interventions done to increase the number of women in engineering.

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Dianne Raubenheimer Meredith College

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Dr. Dianne Raubenheimer is Director of Research, Planning and Assessment at Meredith College, Raleigh, North Carolina. She also works as an educational consultant, primarily as external evaluator on educational research and development grants.

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Alina N. Duca NC State University

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Dr. Alina Duca is a Teaching Associate Professor and the Director of the Undergraduate Programs in the Mathematics Department at North Carolina State University. Her primary interests are in educational research about the teaching and learning of mathematics by pre-service teachers and STEM undergraduate students.

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H. Joel Trussell North Carolina State University

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H. Joel Trussell has published 84 journal papers and numerous conference papers on signal and image processing, estimation theory and education, which have over 2000 citations in the SCI and many more in Google scholar. He was a visiting scientist at the Eastman Kodak Company, Color Savvy Systems and HP Labs. He was a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge University. He served as associate editor for several IEEE publications and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the IEEE. I have shared the IEEE-ASSP Society Senior Paper Award (1986 with M.R. Civanlar) and the IEEE-SP Society Paper Award (1993 with P.L. Combettes). He is co-author of two currently used texts.

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JITAR online modules to improve math preparation of engineering students: Preliminary results There are several factors that influence student retention and success in engineering, themost important being mathematical competency, but there is well documented knowledge gap inthe preparation of engineering undergraduates. Engineering programs typically enforceprerequisites to guarantee a certain level of mathematics proficiency before the students canenroll in engineering classes. Due to several factors this sequence is not completely effective atpreparing engineering students and engineering educators are challenged with students at greatlyvarying mathematical skill levels, while needing to quickly bring all students up to the samemathematical mastery level at appropriate points during a semester. While the traditional modelof integrating engineering applications into the mathematics courses and later reviewing thoseconcepts in engineering courses has benefited the math preparation of the engineering students, itdoes not completely address the mathematical knowledge gap of engineering students due to its"one size fits all" approach to the problem (Manseur, Leta, & Manseur, 2010). To address this problem, our team of mathematics and engineering instructors designed ateaching e-tool called Just-In-Time Assessment and Review (JITAR). It is delivered as an on-line system consisting of a series of individualized mathematics modules, to be inserted withinengineering courses at strategic points in the semester, prior to students needing those math skillsin the engineering course. JITAR assesses the mathematical competency level of the individualstudent and provides formative individualized learning opportunities in time for the students tobe successful in applying the necessary mathematics to the new engineering course material.WeBWorK, an open source on-line homework system, was chosen as the appropriate softwarefor the delivery of these modules. The structure of the modules relies heavily on the fact that theassessment and review content needs to be generated based on individual student’s performance.Therefore the team created a new type of WeBWorK assignment to support the desiredpresentation and flow of the module integrating assessment and e-learning assistance by offeringa customized learning path to students. The first JITAR module has been developed for Complex Numbers and ComplexFunctions and implemented in Linear Systems for Biomedical Engineers course which is a juniorlevel required course in the Biomedical Engineering curriculum. The module has been createdas an application in WeBWorK which will allow any engineering course instructor to import andadopt easily. In this paper, we will present the preliminary results from the first yearimplementation of JITAR modules. WeBWork has extensive student progress data captureability which will help us with direct assessment of the module. Student surveys given after thecompletion of the modules will give us the indirect assessment results. We will also compare theperformance of students on selected topics with or without the module in Linear Systems forBiomedical Engineers course.This project is currently funded by National Science Foundation

Ozturk, H. O., & Raubenheimer, D., & Duca, A. N., & Trussell, H. J. (2015, June), JITAR Online Modules to Improve Math Preparation of Engineering Students: Preliminary Results Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24384

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