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ERIC Number: EJ903750
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-1051-1970
The Origins of Liberal Arts Mathematics
George, Michael
PRIMUS, v20 n8 p684-697 2010
"Liberal arts mathematics" differs from traditional mathematics courses in that it consists of a disparate collection of topics, rather than being organized around a single mathematical subject. As a result, the educational rationale for and purpose of the course may be vague both to instructors and students. The purpose of this study is to examine the origins of liberal arts mathematics. Its precursor courses emerged as early as the 1930s in response to discontent with the traditional "freshman" mathematics courses, a discontent arising from both sociological factors and developments in educational psychology. In committees and on the pages of the mathematics education literature, educators promoted different solutions to the problem of how to better serve the mathematical needs of the general college student. These divergent and at times competing visions of a new course manifested in the mathematical "survey" course, and eventually in the course known today as liberal arts mathematics. It is argued that the origins of liberal arts mathematics are important to an understanding of the course's mathematics educational significance.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A