June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
In Colombia, the low performance of students in mathematics courses are the main cause of academic attrition in engineering professional programs. Data indicate that about 30% of the students fail in mathematics courses, particularly in those that are taught in first year. This high failure rate has a high impact on society, as well as institutions and student families. One important reason for this situation is that the national education system does not focus on the development of STEM competencies. As a result, the motivation of engineering students in mathematics courses is continuously hampered because of deficiencies in prerequisites. This paper reports preliminary results from a project conducted in collaboration between mathematics and engineering at our institution. The main objective of this project is to support mathematics professors in the process of improving student learning, by continuously reflecting on the effectiveness of the pedagogical practices that are applied inside and outside the classroom, and adopting a classroom-based research strategy to improve student learning accordingly.
A total of five case studies (each for one course) where designed by taking into account state-of-the-art practices for math education. Each case study involves two course sections that are coordinated by two different professors, where one of these professors is mentored while the other one is not. The course lead by the unmentored professor is the control course for each case study. For the development of each case study, we have defined the following stages: i) the mentored professor identifies a set of learning objectives that have been difficult to attain by the students of the corresponding course. Students were surveyed about the difficulties in learning the topics associated with these objectives; ii) this professor is mentored by specialists in mathematics education, who help her in a reflective exercise to identify improvement opportunities in what respect to the pedagogical practices that she usually applies in the learning process associated with the set of problematic learning outcomes that were identified in the first stage; iii) the specialists help the professor in the process of conducting a simple but powerful classroom-based research exercise, in which departing from a guiding question and an exploration of the state-of-the-art, the professor proposes new classroom experiences with the goal of improving student learning. The design of the new pedagogical experience, the classroom-based research project, considers the revision of the learning objectives in light of the corresponding math competencies, the context in which the learning activities are developed, and the use of technology for supporting these activities; iv) the mentored professor implements her new proposed classroom experiences. External professors gather data by interviewing the participants, and recording and observing all sessions.
This paper focuses on the case study applied to the Algebra and Functions course and has a twofold contribution. First, it proposes a characterization of the role of the mathematics professor who continuously reflects on her pedagogical practices, and acts accordingly by adopting a classroom-based research strategy. Second, it provides valuable findings related to math learning in engineering.
Villegas, N. M., & Gallego, S. C., & Suárez, I. M., & Jaramillo, J., & Burbano, A., & Pachon, A., & Bohorquez, D. A., & Quintero, L. M., & Echeverri, I., & Castillo, L. K., & Cuartas Rodríguez, C. A. (2019, June), Professor Critical Reflection and its Impact on Learning Environments: A Case Study Applied to a First-year Mathematics Course in Engineering Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33197
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