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MOSL: An Innovative Approach to a Supplementary Course of Mathematics in Engineering

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 3

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Paper Authors


Jose R. Portillo Universidad Galileo

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Roberto Portillo is a mathematics professor and sub-director of the Teaching Assistants Department of Universidad Galileo in Guatemala. He holds a Bs. in Electronics and Computer Science and a Ms. in Operations Research. In several years he was awarded with the "Excellence in Teaching" award. His current research interests are focused in Engineering Education.

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Alberth E. Alvarado Universidad Galileo

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Alberth Alvarado received (with honors) the B.S. degree in Electronics and Computer Science Engineering from Universidad Francisco Marroquín in 2004; the M.S. degree in Applied Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010 and 2014, respectively. Currently, Dr. Alvarado is the Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics at Universidad Galileo in Guatemala, Guatemala.

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Jorge Samayoa Ranero Galileo University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jorge A. Samayoa holds a B.S. in electronics and computer science, a M.S. in operation research, and a M.S. in applied mathematics. In 2003, he started teaching undergraduate courses in mathematics at the Engineering School of Galilleo University and has taught courses at Francisco Marroquin University, Guatemala, and Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. In 2004, he founded the Teaching Assistants Department of Galileo University, where he was responsible for all the Teaching Assistants of several schools of Galileo University. In 2006, he was awarded the “Excellence in Teaching” Award of Galileo University. He holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University under the supervision of Dr. Abhijit Deshmukh, in the School of Industrial Engineering. Currently is the head of Operations Research at Galileo University in Guatemala. His current research interests include complex systems, general systems theory, and efficiency and creation of teaching tools for engineering education.

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Complete Evidence-based Practice Abstract.

Supplementary education has been always a topic of discussion in academia. In most of developing countries, students lack of a solid education in mathematics. In particular, freshmen engineering students have shown deficiencies in the areas of arithmetic, algebra and trigonometry, which are prerequisites for entry-level mathematics courses.

In this paper, we focus on freshmen engineering students enrolled in the first calculus course offered by an university from Guatemala. We show how the deficiencies from high school education were detected, and then, we present the improvement obtained by our students as a result of a hands-on based supplementary course. Such a course was focused on developing problem solving and operatory skills in the previous mentioned areas. In contrast to classic supplementary approaches, our course was offered concurrently with the calculus course and its grade was part of the main course grade distribution. The course design and execution details are also addressed.

In order to analyze the impact of our supplementary course we split the class into two groups based on the abilities they presented in a diagnostic test conducted at the beginning of the academic period. At the end of the term, we repeated the same diagnostic test in order to compare the impact of such a supplementary class. Our main result showed that, even though we could not level up the two groups of study, we were able to reduce the academic breach between them by 34%. In addition, we present all the statistical analysis and comparisons between different tests we ran throughout the study. We conclude the discussion by showing the future improvements to implement in order to achieve better results.

Portillo, J. R., & Alvarado, A. E., & Samayoa Ranero, J. (2017, June), MOSL: An Innovative Approach to a Supplementary Course of Mathematics in Engineering Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28687

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