June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.1167.1 - 13.1167.9
Teaching Mathematics to Engineering Technology Students: Moving Math Instruction into the Department
Decisions by university administrators caused our engineering technology department to make a transition from the university’s main campus to a satellite campus and becoming an evening program operating on accelerated terms. This has forced many changes on the department, including changes in how our students get the necessary background in mathematics.
To understand the content in the major courses and to meet standards for bachelor’s degree programs in engineering technology, students must be able to use material from algebra, trigonometry and differential and integral calculus. In the past, we have met these needs by requiring specific math department courses.
With the move to the satellite campus, math courses became an issue for our program. At this campus, very few students need math beyond minimum bachelor’s degree core requirements. Higher level math courses suffered from low enrollment. Also, a math instructor could generate higher enrollment and give a better return to the university by teaching a basic core course. As a result, few math courses meeting our needs were scheduled. Also, due to pressure to offer more web courses, some of the higher level math courses usually appeared as online courses. This combination of limited offerings and web courses proved to be difficult for our students.
It became evident that the best way to ensure that our students got the necessary math background in a timely manner was for us to teach the math topics within the department. The department would control scheduling and be responsible for staffing. The department would be responsible for content, and the courses would be focused on topics needed in our courses and in later practice.
Two new department courses were developed to cover topics from algebra, trigonometry and calculus. These courses were first offered in 2007. Math topics are also included in two existing courses, an introductory course for new students and an upper level course that covered advanced math topics and calculation software. To meet university core requirements for one regular math course, the department added a requirement for statistics. This course meets core requirements, the university offers an acceptable number of sections at our campus, and it covers material that students need in practice.
This paper will discuss the author’s experiences with making the transition from the use of math department courses to developing our own courses in mathematics for engineering technology. The paper will discuss development of the courses, initial offerings, a discussion of the effects this change has had on other courses, and plans for future changes.
During the 1980s, our institution replaced an industrial arts program with a bachelor’s degree program in engineering technology. The program was formed on the university’s main campus,
SARWAR, A., & Blake, J. (2008, June), Teaching Mathematics To Engineering Technology Students: Moving Math Instruction Into The Department Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3731
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