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Video Tutorials in Mathematics Education for Engineering Students

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 1

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Franziska Dorothea Wehner Technische Universität Darmstadt

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Franziska D. Wehner graduated from Heidelberg University with a M.Sc. in Psychology in 2014. She is currently a research associate in the Institute for Psychology at Technische Universität Darmstadt. Her research interests focus on the evaluation and improvement of higher education.

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Engineering students often struggle with mathematics. For example, in Germany, introductory mathematics courses often have high failure rates and are considered to be a difficult hurdle for engineering students [1]. Similar problems have been reported in other countries such as the U.S. [2]. Thus, it is essential to search for ways how to provide engineering students with the support they need to succeed in mathematics. In the last decades, various online learning offers have enriched mathematics education. One example are video tutorials, i.e. screencasts in which a (typically handwritten) solution of a mathematics problem is verbally explained step by step. To the author’s knowledge, only few studies have yet focused on video tutorials in mathematics higher education (for an example, see [3]). However, in order to effectively use such video tutorials and to be able to improve them, it is important to know more about students’ reasons for and ways of using such tutorials and their satisfaction with them. Thus, the current study contributes to filling this research gap and thus, to improving mathematics higher education for engineering students.

This paper is part of a larger study aimed at answering several research questions, including students’ use of various learning offers, learning strategies, goal orientations, attributions and satisfaction with their learning success. However, the focus of this paper will be on answering the specific research question, if and how engineering students use video tutorials and how satisfied they are with them.

The study was conducted in a mathematics course for engineering students at a technical university in Germany. Besides a lecture which was held twice a week, students had the opportunity to visit tutorial groups and to use various online learning offers, in particular lecture recordings, lecture slides, lecture notes and video tutorials. Online learning offers were made available to students via an electronic learning platform. Overall, 12 videos were available for the course. 28 students took part in the study. However, one participant had to be excluded from data analysis due to being enrolled in a non-engineering degree program. 77.8% of participants were male, and 22.2% were female. Participants’ age ranged from 18 to 29. The majority were sophomores (74.1%).

Semi-structured interviews were conducted and demographic information was collected with a questionnaire. Interviews were audio recorded. The recordings were transcribed in verbatim. The anonymized interview transcripts were analyzed based on a method for qualitative content analysis suggested by [4]. With this method, data are firstly coded using a category system, which is developed based on theoretical considerations and the research and interview questions. Secondly, for each category, coded passages are inspected and where needed, subcategories are developed. This method allows to acknowledge pre-existing knowledge and assumptions without ignoring the individual contributions of the participants. At the moment, data are being analyzed. It is expected that data analysis will be finished in November 2017.

[1] H. Dehling, E. Glasmachers, B. Griese, J. Härterich, and M. Kallweit, "MP2 - Mathe/plus/Praxis: Strategien zur Vorbeugung gegen Studienabbruch," ZFHE, vol. 9, pp. 39-56, 2014. [2] M. W. Ohland, A. G. Yuhasz, and B. L. Sill, "Identifying and Removing a Calculus Prerequisite as a Bottleneck in Clemson's General Engineering Curriculum," Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 93, pp. 253-257, 2004. [3] C. McLoughlin and B. Loch, "Building Cognitive Bridges in Mathematics: Exploring the Role of Screencasting in Scaffolding Flexible Learning and Engagement," in 33rd International Conference of Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education, Adelaide, Australia, 2016, pp. 412-420. [4] U. Kuckartz, Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse : Methoden, Praxis, Computerunterstützung, 3., überarbeitete Auflage ed. Weinheim, 2016.

Wehner, F. D. (2018, June), Video Tutorials in Mathematics Education for Engineering Students Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31224

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