APPLIED MATHEMATICS -EVALUATING STUDENTS' PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE IN A VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
KeywordsScience and knowledge
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The present paper introduces an innovative e-learning project developed on the Moodle platform, a three phased learning approach (method) aimed at encouraging students to discover the spectacular applications of Mathematics. The first phase of the project involves a multiple choice test with image based real-life scientific applications corresponding to mathematical notions belonging to the first year course in Mathematics. This test, administered at the beginning of the university year, has the role of evaluating the extent of the preexistent mathematical culture specific to each student. The second phase consists in a reapplication of the same questionnaire during the second term of the first year, when students have acquired the necessary mathematical background required in the test, but still lack explicit and grounded notions of specific applications of Mathematics. The last phase consists in a research team project, elaborated by students, each team being given the choice of investigating one of the practical applications of Mathematics mentioned in the test. Among the research objectives of our work , the following are the most important: i) Virtual learning -based evaluation of applied Mathematics level of knowledge at freshman Mathematics students and ii) Virtual learning -based evaluation of applied Mathematics level of knowledge and integration of theoretical notions at second term first-year Mathematics students. It also encourages students' team work and collaboration and promotes students' use of the internet and web-based resources for scientific research purposes. Moreover, another target of the project is familiarizing students with Mathematics' applications in science and every-day life and establishes the connection between the current use of modern technologies like Google maps search and queries in a Data Base Management System and paths of minimal length or Hilbert's curves.