Engineering Students’ Perceptions of Mathematical Modeling in a Learning Module Centered on a Hydrologic Design Case Study
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Engineering Students’ Perceptions of Mathematical Modeling in a Learning Module Centered on a Hydrologic Design Case Study

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  • Journal Title:
    International Journal of Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education
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  • Description:
    Engineering students need to spend time engaging in mathematical modeling tasks to reinforce their learning of mathematics through its application to authentic problems and real world design situations. Technological tools and resources can support this kind of learning engagement. We produced an online module that develops students’ mathematical modeling skills while developing knowledge of the fundamentals of rainfall-runoff processes and engineering design. This study examined how 251 students at two United States universities perceived mathematical modeling as implemented through the online module over a 5-year period. We found, subject to the limitation that these are perceptions from not all students, that: (a) the module allowed students to be a part of the modeling process; (b) using technology, such as modeling software and online databases, in the module helped students to understand what they were doing in mathematical modeling; (c) using the technology in the module helped students to develop their skill set; and (d) difficulties with the technology and/or the modeling decisions they had to make in the module activities were in some cases barriers that interfered with students’ ability to learn. We advocate for instructors to create modules that: (a) are situated within a real-world context, requiring students to model mathematically to solve an authentic problem; (b) take advantage of digital tools used by engineers to support students’ development of the mathematical and engineering skills needed in the workforce; and (c) use student feedback to guide module revisions.
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  • Source:
    International Journal of Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education, 7(2), 351-377
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  • ISSN:
    2198-9745;2198-9753;
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    CC BY
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    Library
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