"Communication of Mathematics" as a Tool to Improve Students' General Communicative Skills

"Communication of Mathematics" as a Tool to Improve Students' General Communicative Skills

J. Larsson (2007).  "Communication of Mathematics" as a Tool to Improve Students' General Communicative Skills. 7.

This is an account of an attempt to improve students’ communicative skills, with a focus on mathematics. The intent is to give the students skill and experience in communicating in an environment where precision is important, both in mathematics and science in general, but also in engineering. The first part of the course is intended to improve the students’ ability to follow a logical argument, especially long (even infinite) chains of logical arguments. Later parts of the course focus more on the practice of presentation of, discussion of, and writing mathematics.

Examination is not by a written exam, the examination consists of students' participation in oral presentations and the ensuing discussions, a one page handwritten handin at the start of the course, and finally a short typed piece on a suitable mathematical topic. Experiences from this first attempt are discussed, and the most striking effect is the visibly improving oral communication skills of the students as the course proceeds.

There are also indications that participation in this course is beneficial to later mathematics courses, but only for the able students. We do expect an improved overall performance of the students but there is no clear effect as yet, partly because there has not passed enough (read “any”) time after the finished course, but perhaps also because the sample is small.

Proceedings of the 3rd International CDIO Conference, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, June 1114, 2007

Authors (New): 
Jan­-Åke Larsson
Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Communication of Mathematics
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