June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.1265.1 - 14.1265.17
The Wright State Model for Engineering Mathematics Education: A Nationwide Adoption, Assessment and Evaluation
The inability of incoming students to advance past the traditional first-year calculus sequence is a primary cause of attrition in engineering programs across the country. As a result, this paper will describe an NSF funded initiative at Wright State University to redefine the way engineering mathematics is taught, with the goal of increasing student retention, motivation and success in engineering. This paper will provide a brief overview of the WSU model for engineering mathematics education, including its impact on student retention and success. It will also summarize the scope of a 2008 NSF CCLI Phase 3 award, which includes pilot adoption and assessment of the WSU model by a total of 15 institutions across the country.
The traditional engineering curriculum requires at least one full year of calculus as a prerequisite to core sophomore-level engineering courses. However, only about 42% of incoming students who wish to pursue an engineering or computer science degree at Wright State University have traditionally advanced past the required first-year calculus sequence. The remaining 58% either switch majors or leave the University. This problem is not unique to WSU. Indeed, the inability of incoming students to successfully advance past the traditional first-year calculus sequence plagues engineering programs across the country. As such, there is a drastic need for a proven model which eliminates the first-year mathematics bottleneck in the traditional engineering curriculum, yet can be readily adopted by engineering programs across the country. A nationwide expansion and assessment of precisely one such model is the focus of this work.
The WSU model for engineering mathematics education involves the introduction of a novel freshman engineering mathematics course EGR 101, along with a substantial restructuring of the early engineering curriculum. Taught by engineering faculty, the EGR 101 course includes lecture, laboratory and recitation components. Using an application-oriented, hands-on approach, EGR 101 addresses only the salient math topics actually used in the core entry-level engineering courses. These include the traditional physics, engineering mechanics, electric circuits and computer programming sequences. More importantly, the EGR 101 course replaces traditional math prerequisite requirements for the above core courses, so that students can advance in the engineering curriculum without first completing the required calculus sequence. The result has shifted the traditional emphasis on math prerequisite requirements to an emphasis on engineering motivation for math, with a just-in-time structuring of the required math sequence.
The WSU model was first implemented in 2004, and its effect on student retention, motivation and success has since been widely reported1-16. The current paper includes significant updates since the approach was last reported one year ago, including first-year retention results following the recent introduction of EGR 100 as a precursor to EGR 101 for initially underprepared
Klingbeil, N., & Rattan, K., & Raymer, M., & Reynolds, D., & Mercer, R. (2009, June), The Wright State Model For Engineering Mathematics Education: Nationwide Adoption, Assessment, And Evaluation Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5339
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