**Mathematics
for Engineers - the problem**
The importance of mathematics as a tool for the description and analysis of engineering systems and processes
has long been acknowledged, and the Engineering Council rightly demands a high level of mathematical
knowledge and skill in its accredited engineers.
In recent years the mathematical preparedness of students embarking upon science and engineering degree programmes
has been the subject of close scrutiny, with depressing conclusions. Grade inflation, syllabus weaknesses,
high failure rates, proliferation of qualifications, increasing attractiveness of other school subjects,
undergraduate courses and careers, have all contributed to the problems faced by those who recruit and educate
engineering undergraduates.
**The ****HELM**
**learning resources - a possible solution**
The
**HELM**
learning resources are a novel, major attempt to ensure that the Engineering Council's mathematics
requirements continue to be met at a time when many undergraduates entering university to study
engineering lack the basic skills and aptitude which could be relied upon in the past.
The project team consisted of staff at Loughborough and four consortium partners: Hull, Reading, Sunderland and Manchester.
The aim is to enhance
and extend Loughborough's successful Mathematics Open Learning materials,
in particular by incorporating engineering exercises and case studies
closely related to the mathematics presented.
These resources consists of Workbooks, CAL segments and an Assessment Regime
(detailed below). They enhance and extend Loughborough's successful Mathematics
Open Learning materials, in particular by incorporating engineering exercises
and case studies closely related to the mathematics presented. Nothing on this
scale has been available before for free dissemination across the HE sector. The
emphasis is on flexibility - the work can be undertaken as private study, distance
learning or can be teacher-led, or a combination, according to the learning style
of the student and the approach of the particular lecturer.
**The ** **HELM**
** project materials and assessment regime**
48 student Workbooks written specifically with the typical engineering student in mind containing
mathematical topics and related engineering exercises, many of which are available over the web in
pdf format. They provide ample space for students to attempt exercises which guide them through problems in stages.
CAL materials :
Web-delivered CAL segments associated with the Workbooks - including
audio, interactivity, animation and self-assessment aspects. These
are especially useful for supporting students of moderate mathematical
ability, and for revision.
Assessment Regime :
An integrated web-delivered CAA regime for both self-testing and
formal assessment. Students following the project's regime are typically
tested five times each semester with questions delivered over the
web. Most of the 4,500 question bank items have feedback. Students
are encouraged to engage in their own learning by allowing them
unlimited practice tests before taking a one-attempt summative test.
Students are strongly motivated to keep up with their studies, thereby
improving achievement and progression. |