ERIC Number: EJ722191
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Oct-15
An Innovative Learning Model for Computation in First Year Mathematics
Tonkes, E. J.; Loch, B. I.; Stace, A. W.
International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science & Technology, v36 n7 p751-759 Oct 2005
MATLAB is a sophisticated software tool for numerical analysis and visualization. The University of Queensland has adopted Matlab as its official teaching package across large first year mathematics courses. In the past, the package has met severe resistance from students who have not appreciated their computational experience. Several main factors contribute: first, the software is numerical rather than symbolic, providing a departure from the thinking patterns presented in lectures and tutorials. Second, many students cannot see a direct connection between the laboratory exercises and core course material from lectures. Third, the students find hurdles to entry as commands often return incomprehensible error messages and don't execute, and programs are difficult to write and debug. Overall, the details of the mathematics are lost in trying to negotiate the software. After considerable effort in tuning, it appears that a sequence of innovations has captured student support and added considerable value to both the computational and traditional learning process.
Descriptors: Teaching Methods, Mathematics, Computer Software, Computer Assisted Instruction, Learning Processes, Student Attitudes, Foreign Countries, Higher Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia