NOMAD 20(3-4), 2015

A textbook in linear algebra – the use and views of engineering students

Ragnhild Johanne Rensaa and Barbro Grevholm

Abstract

This paper has a twofold aim. One is to analyse parts of a linear algebra textbook to seek for its relevance to engineering students. Another is to present an analysis of engineering students’ views about this textbook. Results from the textbook analysis indicate that characteristics like motivating examples and visual design of text and pictures may appeal to engineering students. This is confirmed by analysis of students’ views, showing that the textbook is appreciated, with examples as the most valued part. The textbook’s design with theory presented in small portions, often in examples using specific values to illustrate theoretical arguments, seems to be a success factor.

Ragnhild Johanne Rensaa

Ragnhild Johanne Rensaa is an associate professor at Narvik University College, where she teaches mathematics to engineering students. She has her Ph.D in mathematics, but has had a research interest in didactics of mathematics for a number of years. Her main interest is investigating different aspects about engineering students’ studies and learning of mathematics.

Barbro Grevholm

Barbro Grevholm is professor emerita in didactics of mathematics at University of Agder in Norway and at Kristianstad University. She has been active in creating and developing the doctoral programmes in both places and at Luleå University of Technology. She currently supervises doctoral students and publishes in books and journals. From 2006 she was the leader of the Network for research on mathematics textbooks in the Nordic and Baltic countries (supported by NordForsk).