Open Science Research Excellence

Roelf Sypkens

Publications

2

Publications

2
10008138
Students Perceptions on the Relevance of High School Mathematics in University Education in South Africa
Abstract:
In this study we investigated the relevance of high school mathematics in university education. The paper particularly focused on whether the concepts taught in high school are enough for engineering courses at diploma level. The study identified particular concepts that are required in engineering courses whether they were adequately covered in high school. A questionnaire was used to investigate whether relevant topics were covered in high school. The respondents were 228 first year students at the Central University of Technology in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology. The study indicates that there are some topics such as integration, complex numbers and matrices that are not done at high schools and are required in engineering courses at university. It is further observed that some students did not cover the topics that are in the current syllabus. Female students enter the university less prepared than their male counterparts. More than 30% of the respondents in this study felt that high school mathematics was not useful for them to be able to do engineering courses.
Keywords:
High school mathematics, university education, SPSS package, students’ perceptions.
1
10008987
Investigating the Dynamics of Knowledge Acquisition in Learning Using Differential Equations
Abstract:
A mathematical model for knowledge acquisition in teaching and learning is proposed. In this study we adopt the mathematical model that is normally used for disease modelling into teaching and learning. We derive mathematical conditions which facilitate knowledge acquisition. This study compares the effects of dropping out of the course at early stages with later stages of learning. The study also investigates effect of individual interaction and learning from other sources to facilitate learning. The study fits actual data to a general mathematical model using Matlab ODE45 and lsqnonlin to obtain a unique mathematical model that can be used to predict knowledge acquisition. The data used in this study was obtained from the tutorial test results for mathematics 2 students from the Central University of Technology, Free State, South Africa in the department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. The study confirms already known results that increasing dropout rates and forgetting taught concepts reduce the population of knowledgeable students. Increasing teaching contacts and access to other learning materials facilitate knowledge acquisition. The effect of increasing dropout rates is more enhanced in the later stages of learning than earlier stages. The study opens up a new direction in further investigations in teaching and learning using differential equations.
Keywords:
Differential equations, knowledge acquisition, least squares nonlinear, dynamical systems.