Students Understanding of the Derivative in a Blended Learning Environment: Teaching Calculus in a Blended Learning Environment

By Kristie Naidoo and R. Naidoo.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper focuses on blended learning in mathematics I module in elementary calculus, at a University of Technology. A computer laboratory was used to create a learning environment that promoted interactive learning together with traditional teaching. The interactive learning was performed using projects to optimize the discovery and error diagnosis in an elementary differential calculus class consisting of first year engineering students. A group of 33 engineering students (the experimental group) completed a project in elementary calculus as part of their course requirement for the mathematics I module in the engineering faculty. The project was designed to support the development of the differential calculus frames “limit of a sequence”, “average rate of change” and “instantaneous rate of change”. Students were clinically interviewed on their tasks in the project. We also compared a control group of students (randomly selected students) taught in a completely traditional lecture. Both groups were subjected to the Orton’s test on differential calculus. Analysis of project work indicated that students have developed specific mathematical mental frames in elementary calculus. The control group exhibited more structural and executive errors than the experimental group. The experimental group tended to describe the concepts using deep structures than surface structures. Statistically the scores on the Orton’s tests indicated a clear difference between the experimental group and the control group. We can suggest blended learning enhances understanding of key concepts in elementary calculus.

Keywords: Calculus, First Year Students, Blended Learning

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp.193-202. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 681.646KB).

Mr Kristie Naidoo

Head of Department, Education, Durban University of Technology, Durban, KwaZuluNatal, South Africa

Mr Kristie Naidoo is the Head of Department School of Education at the Durban University of Technology. Research interests include teaching and learning in mathematics and physical science both at FET and Tertiary education.

Dr. R. Naidoo

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built-in Environment, Durban University of Technology, Durban, KwaZuluNatal, South Africa

I am a lecturer in mathematics. I am a Phd in mathematics and an MPhil in mathematics education. Researcher in the fields of mathematics (such as computational mathematics) and in mathematics education (such as teaching and learning mathematics in higher education). Papers have been published in numerical mathematics and teaching and learning of differential calculus.

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