Teaching in Context: Integrating Mathematical Thinking and Personal Development Planning into the Curriculum for Part-Time, Distance-Learning Engineering Students

Carol Morris
The Open University, United Kingdom

Sally Organ
The Open University, United Kingdom

Alec Goodyear
The Open University, United Kingdom


This paper describes changes to the way mathematics is taught to engineering students at The Open University, moving away from service teaching via generic mathematics modules to incorporating mathematics teaching into the core engineering curriculum. Mathematics is taught in the context of engineering with the aim of reducing the emphasis on derivations and mathematical proofs and putting greater emphasis on understanding basic concepts and being able to create useful models. Mathematical methods are taught and practised, then extended and applied to different engineering contexts as students’ progress through modules, in order to develop students’ mathematical thinking and build confidence. Professional development planning has also been embedded into engineering teaching for improved context and relevance and a more integrated approach to assessment has been taken across the whole qualification.

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