Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/104422
Title: Understanding the difficulties faced by engineering undergraduates in learning mathematical modelling
Authors: Soon, W.
Lioe, L.T.
McInnes, B. 
Keywords: differential equations
mathematical modelling
undergraduate engineering
Issue Date: Dec-2011
Citation: Soon, W.,Lioe, L.T.,McInnes, B. (2011-12). Understanding the difficulties faced by engineering undergraduates in learning mathematical modelling. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology 42 (8) : 1023-1039. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The teaching of mathematics in Singapore continues, in most cases, to follow a traditional model. While this traditional approach has many advantages, it does not always adequately prepare students for University-level mathematics, especially applied mathematics. In particular, it does not cultivate the ability to deal with non-routine problems, which is an essential virtue for any practitioner of mathematical modelling (MM). Here, we argue that this inability to handle non-routine problems is the principal reason for the serious difficulties experienced by Singaporean students who encounter MM at the tertiary level in Singapore universities. A survey was conducted, primarily to understand the difficulties facing the preliminary batch of first-year undergraduate engineering students doing a course in MM using differential equations (DEs) and linear algebra. Our work is motivated by concerns that the novelty of this course in the Singaporean context could lead to difficulties for these students. Students' abilities in attempting novel modelling-type problems, the techniques they employ in solving such problems, their comments on the course and expectations of their lecturers and tutors are being probed. We present our analyses of the survey results and discuss the implications for future work. © 2011 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Source Title: International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/104422
ISSN: 0020739X
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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