STEM Central

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III-11 A National Model for Engineering Mathematics Education: Uncorking the Bottleneck at Your Institution

Type: Workshop

Location: Solon A

Presenter: Nathan Klingbeil – Wright State University

Moderator: Russ Pimmel – Higher Education Services, Inc.

This workshop will describe a curriculum reform initiative at Wright State University to address the nationwide problem of math-related attrition in engineering.   The Wright State model begins with the development of a novel first-year engineering mathematics course, EGR 101 “Introductory Mathematics for Engineering Applications.” Taught by engineering faculty, the course includes lecture, laboratory and recitation components.   Using an application-oriented, hands-on approach, the course addresses only the salient math topics actually used in core engineering courses.   These include the traditional physics, engineering mechanics, electric circuits and computer programming sequences.   The EGR 101 course replaces traditional math prerequisite requirements for the above core courses, so that students can advance in the 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, and has had an overwhelming impact on student retention, motivation and success in engineering.   As part of our STEP Type 1 and CCLI Phase 3 initiatives, various aspects of the approach are now being piloted by at least two dozen institutions across the country (primarily university, but also at the community college and K-12 levels).  

At the conclusion of this session, workshop attendees will be able to:

1. Describe the key elements of the Wright State model for engineering mathematics education.

2. Implement aspects of the Wright State model at their home institutions.

3. Generalize the principles of the Wright State model to disciplines outside of engineering.

In addition to presenting this radical initiative, the workshop will engage the audience in small group discussion regarding learning outcomes 2 and 3. Finally, each participant will be directly engaged in curriculum development by authoring an application-based math problem for his/ her discipline.