2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Undergraduate STEM Students’ Role in Making Technology Decisions for Solving Calculus Questions and the Impact of These Decisions on Learning Calculus

Presented at Computers in Education Division Technical Session 4: Digital Learning Part II

There are challenging problems in STEM research that can be solved by using different technologies. STEM students are usually expected to have a good grasp of the paper-pencil solution to calculus questions to demonstrate critical thinking ability while they are also expected to use technology to determine solutions to these questions. The strategic use of technology by STEM majors enhances their engineering and mathematics learning. Technology education of students for making right decisions to pick the right technology for solving calculus questions is a crucial component of calculus education. There are many challenging problems that might require the use of one of the following technologies:
• Computer programming languages: Matlab, Excel, etc.
• Calculators: Texas Instruments 83, 83+, 84, 86, 89, 89-Titanium, etc.
• Online resources: Wolfram Alpha, etc.
The research results shared in this work received IRB approval for data collection. Qualitative and Quantitative data were collected during the research period for the following three research questions:
Q1.If you are required to draw the graph of a given function by using technology, what kind of technology would you use? Please either choose one of the following or write your own answer and explain why.
1. Calculator (If this is your choice please specify the kind of calculator you use)
2. Excel
3. C
4. C++
5. C#
6. Fortran
7. MATLab
8. LabVIEW
9. Other

Q2.If there is a definite integral given, which one of the following would you prefer to use to calculate the given integral? Please circle the option and briefly explain why.

1.Computer Program (which program)
2.Calculator (which calculator)
3.By hand
If you are required to use a computer program to find the solution of the given definite integral, which computer language would you prefer to use?

Q3.If you needed to calculate numerical values of power series or error term graphs/values which method (algebraic calculations, computer program (please specify), calculator etc.) would you use? If you are required to pick a computer program what programming language would you prefer to use? Please either choose one of the following or write your own answer and explain why.
1. Calculator (If this is your choice please specify the kind of calculator you use)
2. Excel
3. C
4. C++
5. C#
6. Fortran
7. MATLab
8. LabVIEW
9. Other

In this work, the quantitative data analysis consisted of the statistical analysis of the participants’ responses to the research questions and the qualitative nature of the data is the transcription of the 20 participants’ video recorded interviews at a university located on the Northeast side of the United States. The focus of this research is different from majority of the other existing research that focuses on the learning preferences of students to solve engineering problems; (see for example Felder and Silverman (1988) and Rosati (1998).) Students’ preferences on using technology versus paper-pencil solution to solve the research questions is also investigated for improving technology education of STEM students with the impact on their calculus educational experience.

Authors
1. Dr. Emre Tokgoz Quinnipiac University [biography]