Exploring Engineering Undergraduate Students' Understanding of Differential Equations: How It Could Change the Way We Teach Them

By Noraishiyah Abdullah.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

When teaching mathematics as a tool to be applied for different situations, teachers tend to take a procedural approach in introducing mathematics. It is discovered that students sometimes have problems conceptualizing the meaning behind symbols introduced to them. The situation becomes more interesting when these students use their knowledge of mathematics to solve engineering situations, whether during their studies or at work later on. Exploring these situations lets us learn about our teaching and gives an opportunity to improve or change from the usual practice. The outcome could contribute as one factor for the review of current curriculum and practice. This research analyses the interview data and classroom observation through the lenses of APOS Theory. With the help of the theory of learning, we can identify the level of concept construction of our students and why they could not proceed to a higher level of understanding.

Keywords: Procedural Approach, Symbols, Engineering, APOS Theory, Theory of Learning, Curriculum, Mathematics for Engineering

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp.41-51. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 474.671KB).

Noraishiyah Abdullah

PhD Student, School of Education, Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester, Manchester, England, UK

I am a senior lecturer at Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia France Institute, Malaysia. I am currently on leave to pursue my PhD studies. I have been teaching for the past 21 years, and 16 years of them have been at Universiti Kuala Lumpur, where I teach mathematics to undergraduate students in the engineering technology program.