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Emphasized and additional mathematics learning resources

Eivind Rudjord Hillesund of the Faculty of Engineering and Science at the University of Agder has submitted his thesis entitled «The resource decisions and documents of undergraduate engineering students in mathematics courses» and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Thursday 28 January 2021.

One of the main results is that students do primarily use the resources emphasized by the universities whenever possible, but when they run into problems they turn to additional resources as a plan B.

Eivind Rudjord Hillesund

PhD Candidate

The disputation will be held digitally, because of the Corona covid-19-situation.

Eivind Rudjord Hillesund of the Faculty of Engineering and Science at the University of Agder has submitted his thesis entitled «The resource decisions and documents of undergraduate engineering students in mathematics courses» and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree Thursday 28 January 2021.

He has followed the PhD-programme at the Faculty of Engineering and Science with Spesialisation in Mathematics Education.

The PhD are funded in part by UiA-SFU MatRIC - Centre for Research, Innovation and Coordination of Mathematics Teaching.

Summary of the thesis by Eivind Rudjord Hillesund:

Emphasized and additional mathematics learning resources

The project looks into how engineering students use resources to learn mathematics at three universities in Norway.

Resources

The project uses a wide definition, where attending lectures, working with fellow students and asking questions of the lecturer are all considered resources.

When investigating what resources students use, special attention is given to figure out which resources are emphasized by the universities and which are additional resource that the students decide to use.

The project also asks how students decide what resources to use.

Utilization of resourses

The thesis argues, based on the student interviews, that students use resources for the four main purposes of:

  • Introduction
  • Practice
  • Evaluation
  • Explanation

Introduction resources are used to learn the basics of a new topic.

Practice resources are used to work mathematically, for instance by solving exercises. Evaluation resources are used by the students to check their work, ranging from checking the answer to a specific exercise to figuring out whether they study well.

Explanation resources are used to understand the topic better, or to look up formulas or other facts the students may have forgotten.

Additional resourses

One of the main results is that students do primarily use the resources emphasized by the universities whenever possible, but when they run into problems they turn to additional resources as a plan B.

Such additional resources are often digital and can include search engines, online videos and the mathematics software Wolfram Alpha.

It may be important for lecturers in the future to consider the four resource purposes and recommend students additional resources that are of good quality to contribute to their learning of mathematics.

What to do as an audience member:

The disputation is open to the public, but to follow the trial lecture and the public defence, which is transmitted via the Zoom conferencing app, you have to register as an audience member.

We ask audience members to join the virtual trial lecture at 10:20 at the earliest and the public defense at 12:20 at the earliest. After these times, you can leave and rejoin the meeting at any time. Further, we ask audience members to turn off their microphone and camera and keep them turned off throughout the event. You do this at the bottom left of the image when in Zoom. We recommend you use ‘Speaker view’. You select that at the top right corner of the video window when in Zoom.

Opponent ex auditorio:

The chair invites members of the public to pose questions ex auditorio in the introduction to the public defense, with deadlines. Questions can be submitted to the chair, Ingvald Erfjord on e-mail ingvald.erfjord@uia.no

Disputation facts:

The trial lecture and the public defence will take place online, via the Zoom conferencing app (link below)

Head of Department Ingvald Erfjord, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of  Engineering and Science, University of Agder, will chair the disputation.

Trial lecture at 10:30 hours
Public defense at 12:30 hours

 

Given topic for trial lecture: “Rigorous theoretical discussion of the contributions of this PhD study to the DAD, also embedding this discussion into prior work on students’ use of resources (in the mathematics education literature), and perspectives for further research in this area”

Thesis Title: «The resource decisions and documents of undergraduate engineering students in mathematics courses»

Search for the thesis in AURA - Agder University Research Archive, a digital archive of scientific papers, theses and dissertations from the academic staff and students at the University of Agder.

The thesis is available here:

https://hdl.handle.net/11250/2722455

 

The Candidate: Eivind Rudjord Hillesund (1990, Grimstad), Base year at the  Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (2011), Integrated masters degree at the University of Oslo (2016). Present position: Assistand Professor at UiA, Department of Mathematical Scieces.

Opponents:

First opponent: Professor emeritus Luc Trouche, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Institut Français de l'Éducation, Frankrike

Second opponent: Professor Birgit Pepin, Eindhoven School of Education, Eindhoven University of Technology, Nederland 

Professor David Reid, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Agder, is appointed as the administrator for the assessment commitee.

Supervisors were Professor John David Monaghan, UiA (main supervisor) and Professor Said Hadjerrouit, UiA (co-supervisor)