Currently, university mathematics education for non-mathematics students is gaining international attention. Various practical studies have been conducted over the past two decades: an attention on quantitative literacy has been increasing in the U.S., Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education has been widely spreading, and there have been a lot of research focusing on mathematics education for students studying engineering, economics, and so on. In Japan, it is imperative to establish a rational framework for mathematics education for non-STEM students in particular, in order to foster mathematical competence as citizens, businesspersons, or specialists in some field. Although there have been several studies on mathematics education design thus far, more research efforts are required to ensure they are effective in the actual context of Japanese society.
Our research group investigated the concept and practical methods of university mathematics education by considering the condition of Japanese universities. The problems we encountered include, students experiencing difficulties in comprehending mathematical concepts, using mathematics in extra-mathematics contexts, extending their learning beyond the procedural level, etc. The vast differences in mathematical skills among students are another difficulty many universities often encountered. Thus, our current research objectives aim to:
1) Develop new educational designs as well as create linear algebra and calculus textbooks (Theme I).
2) Analyze mathematical knowledge pertaining to how and for what purpose it is employed in daily life, and to construct a conceptual framework to design mathematical learning that promotes non-STEM students’ quantitative literacy (Theme II).
The primary aspects of our research are summarized as follows: 1) to gratify mathematical as well as societal contexts of mathematics learning, 2) to analyze mathematical knowledge as a whole as well as each concept from an epistemological perspective, 3) to develop methodologies that facilitate and activate students’ learning, and 4) to develop ICT tools for mathematical education. The research outcomes we have obtained thus far vary widely, with some being considered on a practical level while others remain a mere idea.
This international workshop will address the following topics along the themes described above:
- Designing successful learning contexts while studying linear algebra and calculus
- Developing ICT tools fostering students’ understanding of mathematical concepts
- Epistemological analysis of mathematical knowledge
- Acquiring quantitative mathematical literacy at university level
- Developing mathematics courses that foster the ability to utilize mathematics in real world situations
The themes and topics of this workshop are based on a discussion during the international workshop “Mathematical Literacy at the University Level and Secondary - Tertiary Transition” that we organized in 2014. At this workshop, we expect to exchange results of research and practices on university mathematics education both in Japan and in other countries. We anticipate fruitful discussions contributing to further advancement in research and educational practices.
- Mizumachi, R. (ed.) (2017). Mathematics Literacy in University Education. Toshindo. (in Japanese)
The workshop will be supported by JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) (Grant Number: 16H03065)