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Mathematica in the teaching of mathematics for computer science students in H.E.

Gordon, Neil

Authors



Contributors

Y. Papegay
Editor

Abstract

This paper considers the use of Mathematica in the teaching of mathematics to Computer Science students in Higher Education (H.E.). This is based on experiences in the English H.E. system, and includes examples of the kinds of illustrations and approaches that can be used in order to attempt the successful teaching of students with a diverse background and differentiated mathematical abilities. Whilst this paper considers the situation in the context of the English Higher Education environment many of the issues are relevant across the globe. The wide variety of student backgrounds now encountered in H.E. often gives rise to difficulties when attempting to teach diverse groups; the use of computer tools, examples, and interactive worksheets can all assist the student in gaining an appreciation and understanding of the applicability and underpinning nature of mathematics to the discipline of computer science. Historically, many computing departments were founded in mathematics departments, and students entering computing degrees in Higher Education would require some form of advanced mathematical understanding. However, the changing nature of student groups and their earlier educational experience is leading to a diversification in the students’ mathematical backgrounds. This paper considers how to utilise Mathematica in dealing with these issues. The strength of Mathematica’s visualization tools, as well as the extensive discrete mathematics packages, provides a useful tool in attempting to engage computer science students with a topic many find "off task" or plain difficult. This can be used in a variety of ways, which we investigate in the paper.  1) Interactivity in the lecture room  2) Interactivity in the workshop/laboratory  3) Complexity of examples  4) Visualization of problems, and solutions  5) Examples of the linking of the underlying mathematics with the application area

Publication Date Jun 1, 2006
Book Title Applied Mathematica, Electronic Proceedings of the Eighth International Mathematica Symposium (IMS’06)
ISBN 2-7261-1289-7
APA6 Citation Gordon, N. (2006). Mathematica in the teaching of mathematics for computer science students in H.E. In Y. Papegay (Ed.), Applied Mathematica, Electronic Proceedings of the Eighth International Mathematica Symposium (IMS’06)