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Technology Decisions of Engineering Students for Solving Calculus Questions

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Computers in Education 9 - Technology 1

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Emre Tokgoz Quinnipiac University

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Emre Tokgoz is currently the Director and an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at Quinnipiac University. He completed a Ph.D. in Mathematics and another Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. His pedagogical research interest includes technology and calculus education of STEM majors. He worked on several IRB approved pedagogical studies to observe undergraduate and graduate mathematics and engineering students’ calculus and technology knowledge since 2011. His other research interests include nonlinear optimization, financial engineering, facility allocation problem, vehicle routing problem, solar energy systems, machine learning, system design, network analysis, inventory systems, and Riemannian geometry.

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Samantha Eddi Scarpinella Quinnipiac University

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Samantha Scarpinella is a Senior Industrial Engineering major at Quinnipiac University with additionally pursuing mathematics and business minors. Her research interests include healthcare, human factors and engineering education. She is planning to be an engineering professor as her profession.

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Michael Giannone Quinnipiac University

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Michael Giannone is currently a Senior at Quinnipiac University majoring in Industrial Engineering. He currently has been accepted to Pennsylvania State University to pursue a Master's in Industrial Engineering. Michael is interested in working either in the Healthcare of Manufacturing industry. Michael has worked at Pratt and Whitney located in East Hartford, CT as well as Crash Safety located in East Hampton, CT. Both of these experiences has helped him strengthen his knowledge in data analytics and optimization. One of Michael’s biggest interests in Ergonomics and Human Factors which he plans to purse later in his career.

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Technology choices of engineering students for solving calculus questions can depend on technologies they learned in high school, web-based resources they are aware of, major specific programming requirements, and technologies taught by their mathematics instructors. There are challenging problems in STEM mathematics education that can be solved by using different technologies. STEM students are usually expected to demonstrate paper-pencil solution and critical thinking ability while they are also expected to use technology to determine solutions to these questions. The strategic use of technology by STEM majors enhances their engineering and mathematics learning. Technology education of students for making right decisions to pick the right technology for solving calculus questions is a crucial component of calculus education [Author, 2020]. There are many challenging problems that might require the use of one of the following technologies: • Computer programming languages: Matlab, Excel, etc. • Calculators: Texas Instruments 83, 83+, 84, 86, 89, 89-Titanium, etc. • Online resources: Wolfram Alpha,, etc. The data collection protocol of this research received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Qualitative and Quantitative data were collected during the research period concerning the following three research questions: • To draw the graph of a given function, what kind of technologies would you use? Please explain your answer and explain why. • If there is a definite integral given, which technology would you prefer to use to calculate the given integral? Please briefly explain why. • If you needed to calculate numerical values of power series or error term graphs/values which method (algebraic calculations, computer program (please specify), calculator etc.) would you use? If you are required to pick a computer program what programming language would you prefer to use? Please explain why.

The quantitative data consists of the statistical analysis of the participants’ responses to the research questions, and the qualitative nature of the data is the transcription of the 18 participants’ video recorded interviews at a university located on the Northeast side of the United States. The focus of this research is different from majority of the other existing research that focuses on the learning preferences of students to solve engineering problems; (see for example Felder and Silverman (1988) and Rosati (1998).) Students’ preferences on using technology versus paper-pencil solution to solve the research questions is also investigated for improving technology education of STEM students with the impact on their calculus educational experience.


Felder R. and L. Silverman. "Learning and Teaching Styles in Engineering Education, ASEE journal of Engineering Education, 78(7), 674-681, 1988.

Rosati, P. "The Learning Preferences of Engineering Students From Two Perspectives," Proceedings of the 1998 ASEE, Frontiers in Engineering (FlE) conference, November 1998.

Author, One of the author’s paper, 2020.

Tokgoz, E., & Scarpinella, S. E., & Giannone, M. (2021, July), Technology Decisions of Engineering Students for Solving Calculus Questions Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37830

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