A Computer Classroom/Laboratory for Undergraduate Mathematics Instruction

David S. Gilliam,
Lawrence Schovanec

Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX 79409


Grant Number: DUE: 9352676

Our poster presentation will focus on the use of the computer lab for the course "Computational Techniques for Mathematics and Science" (CTMS) during the Fall of 1997. Enrollment in CTMS consists of post-calculus students who are mathematics and engineering majors and students seeking secondary mathematics teacher certification. In the Fall of 1997 the course was taught by professor Gary Harris (Director of Undergraduate Studies). As usual the presentation of the class was based on MAPLE worksheets containing lessons and exercises which the students are expected to complete in a cooperative learning environment. The worksheets for this semester were written by professor Harris based on motivation and some borrowed examples from earlier worksheets written for CTMS by professors Gilliam and Schovanec. Samples of these worksheets, which reflect the continued efforts of the department to refine and continually monitor the content and presentation of the course, will be displayed in our poster presentation.

About the Course:


Students must have three semesters of calculus and linear algebra. In addition, students must have taken or currently be taking differential equations.


Algebra with MAPLE, Calculus with MAPLE, Linear Algebra with MAPLE, Differential Equations with MAPLE.


This course is first and foremost a mathematics course. It is driven by mathematics content. MAPLE is viewed as one example of a computer algebra system (CAS) and the course focuses more on the general capabilities of a CAS and how they relate to mathematics.


The students review and reinforce their understanding of mathematical concepts from arithmetic through differential equations. Students become familiar with the general capabilities of a CAS, and obtain experience employing these capabilities to solve mathematical problems. In order to communicate with MAPLE students must learn appropriate syntax; however, learning syntax is not considered the primary objective.


CAS are having profound impact on curriculum and instruction of mathematics at all grade levels and some argue that the very nature of mathematics is being altered by CAS. Current and future students of mathematics and science must be familiar with the capabilities of this technology and have experience with its use.

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