ERIC Number: ED253260
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Jul
Mathematics as a Course of Study in Problem Solving: Then and Now.
Ellis, Wade, Jr.
The mathematics curriculum in the first 2 years of college is a tool created to assist in solving problems. The current mathematics curriculum has changed little; the same topics, tied to the engineering and science curriculum, are taught as they were being taught in 1945. The problems that students need to solve have changed however. Both the business and social science curricula are bristling with problems that need mathematical tools for their solutions, while the computer science curriculum is placing enormous demands on students' mathematical problem-solving capacity. Though the current well-thought-out and well-tested math curriculum remains a marvelous course of study for students of engineering, physics, science, and mathematics, it no longer satisfies the changing needs of perhaps 75% of the students being taught. New topics and new approaches, many of which are made possible by computers, are required if students are to be well served. Because the curriculum is changing so rapidly, methods must be devised and an effective learning environment must be created to encourage the mature mathematics instructor to learn on the job. As the skills needed for problem solving change under the impact of numeric and symbolic computer computation, the focus of mathematics as a course of study in problem solving must be changed from the manipulative skills needed to solve differential equations to the conceptual skills needed to manipulate ideas; and the methods of instruction and the role of the teacher must also change. (LAL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Sloan Foundation Conference on New Directions in Two-Year College Mathematics (Atherton, CA, July 11-14, 1984).