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Modification and Assessment of a First-Year Engineering Course to Improve Students’ Calculus Readiness

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Conference

2017 FYEE Conference

Location

Daytona Beach, Florida

Publication Date

August 6, 2017

Start Date

August 6, 2017

End Date

August 8, 2017

Conference Session

Student Success & Development - Focus on Mathematics

Tagged Topics

Diversity and FYEE Division - Paper Submission

Page Count

5

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29426

Download Count

14

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Paper Authors

biography

Noah Salzman Boise State University

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Noah Salzman is an Assistant Professor at Boise State University, where he is a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and IDoTeach, a pre-service STEM teacher preparation program. His work focuses on the transition from pre-college to university engineering programs, how exposure to engineering prior to matriculation affects the experiences of engineering students, and engineering in the K-12 classroom. He has worked as a high school science, mathematics, and engineering and technology teacher, as well as several years of electrical and mechanical engineering design experience as a practicing engineer. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Swarthmore College, his Master's of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts, and a Master's of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Doctorate in Engineering Education from Purdue University.

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biography

Gary LeRoy Hunt Boise State University

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Gary Hunt a Lecturer for the Engineering Department at Boise State University. Dr. Hunt received his Ph.D. in Education from the University of Idaho, his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Colorado State University, and his B.S. in Engineering Science from Northern Arizona University. His educational research interests include freshmen STEM programs and the development of Scientific Reasoning in students.

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Abstract

In this paper, we describe the modification and evaluation of a first-year engineering program at a western public university. Primarily motivated by the desire to improve students’ readiness for and performance in subsequent calculus classes, we adopted a modified version of the Wright State integrated mathematics curriculum at our institution. The curriculum we describe and evaluate in this paper integrates the engineering mathematics focus of the Wright State curriculum with engineering design activities intended to create a course that is both engaging for students and effective at preparing the students for future mathematics and engineering coursework. Based on a positive experience with a pilot of the course modeled on the Wright State curriculum model, we transitioned to using this curriculum for all sections of our first-year engineering course to include a stronger emphasis on mathematics content and preparation and exposure to Matlab programming. Given the motivation for our modification and the focus of the new course is on improving students’ performance and retention in calculus, we evaluated the effectiveness of the new course by longitudinally tracking students’ success and persistence in subsequent engineering mathematics courses. The results of these analyses show that students’ participating in the new course are not performing significantly better than their peers from earlier years, and international students seem to be fairing worse under the new curriculum. Potential reasons include misalignment of the lecture and laboratory activities associated with the course and changes in the student population, especially international students, that are not captured in the model.

Salzman, N., & Hunt, G. L. (2017, August), Modification and Assessment of a First-Year Engineering Course to Improve Students’ Calculus Readiness Paper presented at 2017 FYEE Conference, Daytona Beach, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/29426

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