Developing mathematics support for first-year engineering students with non-traditional mathematics backgrounds

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Abstract

A maths support system for first-year engineering students with non-traditional entry qualifications has involved students working through practice questions structured to correspond with the maths module which runs in parallel. The setting was informal and there was significant one-to-one assistance. The non-traditional students (who are known to be less well prepared mathematically) were explicitly contacted in the first week of their university studies regarding the maths support and they generally seemed keen to participate. However, attendance at support classes was relatively low, on average, but varied greatly between students. Students appreciated the personal help and having time to ask questions. It seemed that having a small group of friends within the class promoted attendance – perhaps the mutual support or comfort that they all had similar mathematical difficulties was a factor. The classes helped develop confidence. Attendance was hindered by the class being timetabled too soon after the relevant lecture and students were reluctant to come with no work done beforehand. Although students at risk due to their mathematical unpreparedness can easily be identified at an early stage of their university career, encouraging them to partake of the maths support is an ongoing, major problem.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th SEFI Maths Working Group Seminar on Mathematical Education of Engineers
EditorsBurkhard Alpers, Michael Carr, Marie Demlova, Tommy Gustafsson, Duncan Lawson, Brita Olsson-Lehtonen, Carol Robinson, Paul Robinson, Daniela Velichova
Place of PublicationDublin, Republic of Ireland
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-011-3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Event17th SEFI Maths Working Group Seminar - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 23 Jun 201425 Jun 2014

Conference

Conference17th SEFI Maths Working Group Seminar
CountryIreland
CityDublin
Period23/06/201425/06/2014

Keywords

  • mathematics support
  • non-traditional qualifications
  • attendance

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    Cole, J. (2014). Developing mathematics support for first-year engineering students with non-traditional mathematics backgrounds. In B. Alpers, M. Carr, M. Demlova, T. Gustafsson, D. Lawson, B. Olsson-Lehtonen, C. Robinson, P. Robinson, & D. Velichova (Eds.), Proceedings of the 17th SEFI Maths Working Group Seminar on Mathematical Education of Engineers http://sefi.htw-aalen.de/Seminars/Dublin2014/17th%20SEFIMWG%20Seminar/Prog%2017th%20SEFI%20MWG%20Seminar.pdf