Workshop Session E.1 – Engineering Education Methods: Engineering Mathematics – So What?
Bryan Karney, Sasha Gollish, Anne Mather | Mathematics is central to engineering because it is the primary means by which engineers are able to model systems to solve most technical engineering problems. In addition, it allows engineers to understand the consequences of their intended actions, designs, operations and technical systems. Many undergraduate engineering programs delegate the instruction of their mathematics courses to mathematics departments. These courses are often based in abstract, rather than applied, mathematics with few or no examples rooted in engineering. A more student-centred approach may be to offer these mathematics courses through the faculty of engineering in order to provide students with a more integrated learning experience, one that could still be grounded in abstract mathematics, but with applied, engineering examples. Participants will discuss the dynamic between applied (concrete) and abstract mathematics, identify barriers to providing this kind of mathematics education to undergraduates, and assess the extent to which there is a real and/or perceived mathematical deficiency in subsequent engineering courses (i.e. any undergraduate engineering courses that use mathematics after the foundational mathematics course).