ADAPTING TEAM-BASED LEARNING IN A MATHEMATICS COURSE FOR COMPUTER ENGINEERING STUDENTS

  • Birgit R. Krogstie Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Kirsti E. Berntsen Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Anette Wrålsen Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Abstract

For computer engineering students, mathematics is fundamental. However, it is a subject with a high failure rate, and mathematics anxiety is common, also in STEM. To provide students with a working knowledge of mathematics valuable for a computer engineer, learning experiences should promote conceptual understanding of mathematical ideas and the ability to discuss mathematical problems and solutions. Collaborative learning may promote such learning outcomes. In this study, we investigate the use of a modified team based learning (TBL) approach in a second year mathematics course. The implementation aimed to promote collaborative learning through group work, but did not include formalized peer assessment and competition between groups. Six students were interviewed in depth about their experiences from the course. The study sheds light on the balance between providing flexibility to accommodate students’ individual needs and preferences, and imposing the structure needed to achieve the intended collaboration. Issues of preparation, attendance and freeloading are discussed. As an implication for higher IT education, we propose the use of TBL in mathematics courses to encourage students’ conceptual understanding through structured group work. We provide a set of lessons learned as advice for such implementation.

Published
2018-09-18