An interdisciplinary eye on mathematics service teaching

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The bachelor programmes at the University of Twente are designed as a series of thematic modules each centred on a project supported by disciplinary units. Ideally, a mathematics course included in a module is linked with other units and is related to the project, thereby encouraging interdisciplinary ways of thinking. Typically, firstyear mathematics courses are largely decoupled from the projects as they are taught to many programmes simultaneously. To explicitly link the service mathematics to other fields, they include the option of contextualized and scaffolded exercises which we call “Cases”.

To achieve this explicit link, the design of any Case requires lecturers to communicate to align with both project and mathematical topics, as well as support in the roster. Most Cases were developed in the period 2014-2016. Meanwhile, both the mathematics courses and the modules have evolved, and some programmes dropped Cases altogether. These developments lead to the question of whether their design and use support the intended role and add value.

We evaluate each Case on alignment with the relevant mathematics course, alignment with the module and its design, highlighting Biomedical and Civil Engineering examples. We also determine whether the modules still incorporate it and, if not, the reason for exclusion. Preliminary data suggests that their design and use unevenly support the intended role of the Cases. Preliminary conclusions suggest certain Cases need a redesign, but also cause us to reflect on the existence of the need that the Cases are supposed to be meeting.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngaging, Engineering, Education
Subtitle of host publicationBook of Abstracts, SEFI 48th Annual Conference University of Twente (online), 20-24 September, 2020
EditorsJan van der Veen, Natascha van Hattum-Janssen, Hannu-Matti Järvinen, Tinne de Laet, Ineke ten Dam
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-020-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020 - Online, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Sept 202024 Sept 2020
Conference number: 48


Conference48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020
Abbreviated titleSEFI 2020
Internet address


  • Cases
  • Contextualized mathematics
  • Engineering mathematics


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