Journal Article

Applied problems and use of technology in an aligned way in basic courses in probability and statistics for engineering students–a way to enhance understanding and increase motivation

Lena Zetterqvist

in Teaching Mathematics and its Applications: An International Journal of the IMA

Published on behalf of Institute of Mathematics and its Applications

Volume 36, issue 2, pages 108-122
Published in print June 2017 | ISSN: 0268-3679
Published online April 2017 | e-ISSN: 1471-6976 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/teamat/hrx004
Applied problems and use of technology in an aligned way in basic courses in probability and statistics for engineering students–a way to enhance understanding and increase motivation

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Abstract

Researchers and teachers often recommend motivating exercises and use of mathematics or statistics software for the teaching of basic courses in probability and statistics. Our courses are given to large groups of engineering students at Lund Institute of Technology. We found that the mere existence of real-life data and technology in a course does not automatically increase students’ motivation or enhance their learning. Careful integration and alignment between learning activities and assessment are also needed to obtain enhanced learning. Over a number of several years we have developed a learning environment for these basic courses where engaging applied problems and technology are used in an aligned way. We give several examples of the application of the alignment concepts in teaching basic probability and statistics inference. One example describes how applications and real-life data sets, in a consulting setting, give a more positive attitude to the subject. Others concern digital resources, where online exercises and tests used in an aligned way or interactive scripts in Matlab to investigate the theory improve result in the final exam and are perceived as very helpful by the students.

Journal Article.  6279 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Mathematics ; Mathematical Education ; Education

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