The purpose of this research study is to explore simple collaborative technique for teaching mathematics and thus improving the problem solving skills of the students. Better pedagogic activities are required to motivate the students to perceive mathematics as a subject that stimulates problem-solving skills required for engineers.
This paper presents a research study on the application of technology-supported collaborative learning in improving the problem-solving skills of first-year engineering students in a mathematics course. The experiment was conducted in a mathematics course “Engineering Calculus” with 286 first-year engineering students in two groups: experimental group (N = 60) and controlled group (N = 226). The academic performance of the students was measured and analyzed with statistical techniques.
From the results obtained, it was found that the academic performance of the experimental group was better than the controlled group. Also, interest shown by the students in the topic that dealt with collaborative learning was more than in other topics taught using conventional teaching methods.
The teachers are required to find effective pedagogical activities to improve the problem-solving skills in mathematics. The research work proposes a collaborative method in mathematics for attaining higher cognitive level in an entry level engineering course. The limitation of this study lies in group formation techniques and the grading policy which deals only with individual assessment scores.
Practice of collaborative learning is made easy with simple technology. A clear strategy for the conduct of collaborative learning sessions has been presented. The solutions recommended are practically feasible and does not require any special infrastructure or specific training.
Using technology in mathematics teaching may not be very easy for all teachers. Especially, for an undergraduate engineering fresher, mathematics may not be a very easy task. This work shall bridge the gap with simple technology-assisted collaborative learning. The teachers need not spend too much time and effort in learning technology for mathematics teaching. The effect of this learning is significant in terms of the performance and satisfaction evaluation.
This work presents a systematic implementation of collaborative learning that shall result in improved problem-solving skills and engaging learning sessions. The statistical analysis methods and the visualization of obtained results shall help in understanding the implications of the presented work. Practice of collaborative learning is made easy with simple technology. The solutions recommended are practically feasible and does not require any special infrastructure or specific training.
The authors would like to thank and acknowledge the teachers of mathematics and student participants of this research work.
D., A. and D., K. (2022), "Improving problem-solving skills through technology assisted collaborative learning in a first year engineering mathematics course", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-03-2022-0030
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