Enhancing service mathematics teaching through strategic alignment

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Service mathematics teaching, such as calculus for engineering, needs to be aligned with the requirements of the departments it is servicing. Service mathematics courses can be subject to criticism if they are perceived to suffer from poor alignment. Designing such courses requires communication between the mathematics department and the engineering departments and this communication should remain ongoing as the needs of the students change or as teachers with different experience and mathematical preferences change.

In the Twente Educational Model the bachelor’s degree is divided into twelve modules, each lasting one quarter of the academic year. In each module the students work in groups on projects and the project is supported by disciplinary units or skills development. Module design differs across and within departments, but the basic structure of supported project-based learning is ever present. The quarterly project reports provide insight into the work the students draw on to understand and complete their projects and offer an opportunity to determine whether the students have the mathematics knowledge and skills needed for their project assignments.

To investigate existing alignment and to seek ways of improving alignment we
embarked on a project of distilling mathematics content from reports. While
alignment was good in general certain points for improvement were apparent, both in the realm of content (for example important differential equations) and in key skills (for example interpretation of graphs). In this presentation I shall provide a brief synopsis of findings as well as present and reflect on the methodology of the project.
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 pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-020-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020 - Online, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Sep 202024 Sep 2020
Conference number: 48


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


  • Service mathematics
  • Alignment
  • Project-based learning
  • Twente Educational Model


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