Math & Computer Science Department
Project Updates and Links
Abstract and Task List/Time Table
Proposed Courses for Project
- COSC 1570 Math for Computer Science (3 credits ) Topics covered include:
number systems, computer arithmetic, binary, octal, hexadecimal, floating
point operations, sets, and Boolean algebra.
This is a required course for all Computer Science majors. It must, therefore,
be taught on all campuses that offer a major in Computer Science, including
those in Europe and Thiland. It also caries the General Education coding for
MTH and CRI.
- MATH 1620 Calculus II (5 credits) Continues the study of calculus: the
transcendental functions, techniques of integration, applications of the integral,
polar coordinates, parametric equations, sequences, and series. Prerequisite:
MATH 1610. Only offered in a 16-week format.
This is a required course for all Mathematics majors.
Issues to Address
- COSC 1570 is a rather unique course to Webster because it teaches the specific
mathematics that we feel would most benefit our Computer Science majors. Most
Computer Science programs require several general mathematics courses. Because
of this uniqueness we have been unable to find a text from a major publisher
that matched our needs. Currently students are using a text I developed specifically
for the course. There have been difficulties getting copies of the text to
international sites. It would be beneficial to the program if the text could
be delivered through some online delivery system.
This is a computer science course that shows how mathematical concepts are
implement in various areas of computer science (data storage, programming
logic, circuit design, etc.) Adjunct teachers generally have a strong mathematics
background or are currently working in the field of computer science. It is
sometimes difficult for them to teach the course with the appropriate balance
of both fields. Some supplemental materials are available to the teachers
of the course (worksheets, overheads, and sample quizzes, ) but with the support
of the grant it would be possible to build animations and computer activities
that would reinforce some important algorithms and concepts and help teachers
keep the proper emphasis.
- Along with integration, sequences, and series, Calculus II includes the
study of conic sections. polar coordinates parametric functions. Last year
the University purchased a license for DPGraph (http://www.dpgraph.com.) The
license is a lifetime blanket site license for all students and faculty members.
DPGraph is a powerful graphing software program, but it has a limited interface.
Unfortunately the program is not intuitive. This year I used the software
to demonstrate a few concepts, but the grant would allow me to develop more
demonstrations and a tutorial/activity that would teach the interface and
encourage students to create and modify graphs independently. If students
become users of the program they would be able to explore additional concepts
in this and other classes.
- Research should be done to determine what would be the best method to deliver
the text for COSC 1570 to students online. Materials should be offered in
such a way that students could quickly access the descriptions, examples,
practice problems and answers for each section of each chapter. Consideration
must be given to the possible consequences of moving from paper to electronic
Several animation and computer activities should be developed to illustrate
some of the more difficult topics of the course. These could be used as part
of a classroom demonstration, or as interactive practice activities. They
would be made available to all teachers of the course.
- Additional graphing demonstrations should be developed for Calculus II.
One of the unique features of the DPGraph program is that you can link a variable
of a function to the scroll bar and see how the graph changes as the value
of the linked variable changes when the scroll bar is moved. I have used this
to demonstrate conic sections, but with support my demonstrations could be
refined and additional demonstrations could be developed for parametric and
A tutorial should be developed that will allow interested student to learn
how to use DPGraph on their own. The license permits all students to download
the program to their personal computer systems and use it indefinitely. In
addition, this program supports three dimensional graphs and knowing how to
generate such graphs would be particularly useful to students planning on
taking Calculus III.
Assessment of Intervention
- The changes for the distribution of the COSC 1570 text should be ready by
Fall 2005 The directors of sites that offer the course in the fall could be
surveyed to see if the changes had minimized problems with obtaining the texts.
The technology will make it possible to tell if the activities were accessed.
I expect to teach COSC 1570 in the Fall 2005 semester and will be able to
observe my students’ reactions to the activities.
- I consistently teach Calculus II each Spring Semester. The new demonstrations
and tutorial should be implemented in Spring, 2005. I will be able to observe
my students’ reactions to the demonstrations and survey to see if any
of them have experimented with the software.
Benefits to students include a savings on the cost of the Math for Computer
Science text, exposure to demonstrations and activities to help them better
understand content, and for calculus students access to a powerful graphing
software program they can use in multiple classes.
Benefits to the department include addressing the problem of distributing
the text for Math for Computer Science and offering additional support for
teachers of that course.
Benefits to the school include added consistency for a required course that
is taught at multiple sites each semester.
Task List/Time Table
|Prepare COSC 1570 course material (text, handouts, practice sheets) for
distribution to sites (send as CD's)
|Learn more about DPGraph focusing on how it can be used to illustrate
conic sections and volumes generated by revolving a function around an axis
|Develop a self explanatory tutorial that can be used in MATH 1620. Students
will be expected to use the software outside of class.
|Teach MATH 1620 incorporating the new tutorial for DP Graph.
|Survey students to see how many used DPGraph.
|Identify areas most appropriate for animation and interactive practice
in COSC 1570.
| Develop tools for identified areas of COSC 1570.
|Determine best distribution methods for text and teaching tools for COSC
1570. Distribute them to all sites
|Survey site directors on of distribution method of COSC 1570 materials.
|| September 2005
| Teach COSC 1570 using new materials
| Share DPGraph material with this semester's teacher of MATH 1620