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The HELM Project: Helping Engineers Learn Mathematics Presented by Dr Martin Harrison Project Director.

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Presentation on theme: "The HELM Project: Helping Engineers Learn Mathematics Presented by Dr Martin Harrison Project Director."— Presentation transcript:

1 The HELM Project: Helping Engineers Learn Mathematics Presented by Dr Martin Harrison Project Director

2 The HELM Project Helping Engineers Learn Mathematics - HELM Major 3-year curriculum development project –Consortium of five UK universities Hull, Loughborough, Manchester, Reading, Sunderland –UK government funding £250,000 –Oct Sept 2005 To enhance the mathematical education of engineering undergraduates by the provision of a range of flexible learning and teaching resources

3 HELM Target Group Departments and academics teaching mathematics to engineering undergraduates Engineering undergraduates – who are the focus of “the mathematics problem” Clear need for more flexible mathematics curriculum for engineering undergraduates

4 HELM Learning Environment Using computer technology to develop –A range of learning resources (Workbooks, CAL courseware) –Assessment procedures Integrate into existing programmes –Selecting stand-alone units –Adopting the whole scheme Use –To support lectures and continuous assessments –To complement existing resources and texts –For independent or group learning –Also useful resource for science students and even specialist mathematics students

5 HELM Workbooks High quality written materials distributed to students as workbooks. –Paper-based (~2800 pages) and electronic versions (PDF) are available 46 workbooks cover UK engineering mathematics & statistics syllabus 2 workbooks of engineering case studies & applications Student’s Guide & Tutor’s guide

6 HELM Workbooks - Sample

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8 HELM Workbooks Each Workbook contains –Key points and contents in manageable sizes –Tasks - guided exercises and worked solutions –Students can insert their solutions –Engineering examples Workbook 12, for example, illustrates all these features

9 HELM Interactive Lessons Web-delivered CAL courseware –Multimedia interactive lessons (Authorware) –About 80 segments related to 23 workbooks –Audio, interactivity, revision exercises –Self-assessments

10 HELM Assessment Regime Computer Aided Assessment - why? –To reduce burden on staff involved in continuous assessment –To check if students have mastered a new engineering mathematics concept –To encourage self-assessment (formative) –To drive student learning A regular pattern of short periods of study followed by assessment drives learning along at a steady pace Essential to gain the full potential of the other learning resources

11 CAA: Implementation at LU Question Mark Perception (QMP) Integrated web-delivered CAA regime –Self-testing (Formative) –Formal assessment (Summative) CD based CAA regime –Self-testing is straightforward –Formal assessment may be more difficult o Requires a mechanism for marks to be processed and stored.

12 CAA: Screenshots CAA: QM Perception Screenshots

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18 CAA: Resources 4500 questions in about 150 question banks –Most have feedback as worked solutions, examples or generic instruction Each bank contains 20 clones of each question Tests can be custom-made by selecting questions from more than one bank of questions

19 Trialling High level of interest –Over 60 academics from over 40 UK HEIs or FEIs involved in the development and evaluation of the resources –Universities/Individuals in Germany, Netherlands, USA have also expressed interest

20 Evaluation Outcomes Workbooks Significant uptake Layout & content Errors Interactive Lessons Mainly used as an additional resource CAA Widespread interest Implementation overheads of web delivery led to CD version

21 Modes of Usage Lecturers’ use ~20%as core notes Half of these implement the CAA regime to provide formative & summative testing ~50%as supplementary material linked to lecture content ~30% in support centres Students’ use Independent learning, particularly Mature students Special needs students, e.g. dyslexics

22 CAA: Likes and Dislikes Students like flexibility –Taking tests when they are ready –Taking tests where they want –Taking practice tests as many times as they wish Students dislike –Unforgiving nature of CAA –No marks for the method and intermediate steps Staff concerns –Common question banks for practice & formal testing –Cheating in unsupervised summative testing

23 Continuation Loughborough’s Mathematics Education Centre –CETL (Provision of University-Wide Mathematics & Statistics Support) Maintain the HELM website Maintain the written materials (in electronic form) Hold the CAA Question Bank Consortium Members –May update materials (for their own needs) –Could provide ongoing support (at cost)

24 Transferability HEFCE transferability funding – Partners Leicester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford Brookes, Portsmouth & Salford –Oct Sept 2006 Aims –Encourage the effective transfer of practice across institutions –Convert further HEIs into long-term users of HELM learning resources –Monitor usage in different pedagogic ways –Evaluate the difficulties, successes & failures in transfer

25 Summary Need – More flexible mathematics learning resources due to increasing diversity of intake standards HELM Learning Resources –Potential to enhance the mathematical education of engineering undergraduates –Provide an alternative to lectures –Can be used in distance learning mode

26 Conclusions HELM Workbooks –Encourage student engagement during lectures HELM Interactive Lessons –Complement workbooks & aid understanding HELM CAA –Flexible access via web delivery –Facilitates regular testing of large numbers of students –Random question selection –Instant feedback –Incorporates formative and summative testing –Drives student learning

27 Contact HELM Phone:+44 (0) Web:


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