Enhancing the student experience in mathematics through the use of a group project

Susan Rachel Worsley, Katrina Hibberd, Barbara Maenhaut


Many Engineering and Science students enrol in first year mathematics as a requirement of their degree but feel that the mathematics is irrelevant to their chosen field. These students may also suffer feelings of isolation due to large class sizes. To address these issues a group project was introduced into a first year mathematics class with an annual enrolment of over 600~students. In groups of three or four, students explored a relevant mathematical topic of their choice, produced a poster and gave a short oral presentation. The benefits of the project include an appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of mathematics, the development of communication, management, team work and research skills, and an increase in the students' interest in mathematics. This paper outlines how the group project idea was developed and implemented and how the students were assessed. The results of two questionnaires are presented: one completed by the students immediately after they completed the project and the other completed by the tutors who supervised the oral presentations.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21914/anziamj.v49i0.371

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