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Abstract: Context: Recruiting and retaining engineering majors in colleges to meet the workforce demand for engineers continues to be challenging. Success in the engineering calculus course sequence is vital to the attainment of this goal. Many universities have seen the need to support students with weak mathematics skills in order to retain a diverse group of prospective engineers. Previous studies have shown that improving precalculus can be effective in improving placement scores for enrolling in the first engineering calculus course.

Purpose: The purpose of the study is to compare engineering calculus success, throughout the sequence of three courses, between students who took the PPP and those with similar scores who chose not to participate in the PPP.

Approach: The Department of Mathematics at one of the university in central Texas implemented a summer bridge program to strengthen precalculus background for engineering majors, with the goal of increasing success in the three engineering calculus courses sequence. The program was offered for a modest fee to students who did not meet the cut score on the Mathematics Placement Exam (MPE). The program consisted of 36 hours of instruction with an online tutor in addition to online quizzes, practice problems, and book. The summer intervention allowed students to strengthen skills for success on the MPE so that they could take engineering calculus and complete the calculus course sequence for engineers.

Results: It is expected that students who participated in the PPP will fare as well as or better than those with similar MPE scores and chose not to participate. Early results show that the program benefits both genders and all ethnic groups. The PPP is expected to provide students will the start they need to be successful throughout the engineering calculus sequence.

Conclusions: Bridge programs have most typically involved either face-to-face instruction or asynchronous online instruction. However, an online bridge program with both asynchronous and synchronous components can be successful in strengthening mathematics skills in order to reduce attrition in engineering majors as a result of difficulties in mathematics.

To cite this article: Nite, Sandra B; Donald, Allen G; Capraro, Robert M; Bicer, Ali and Morgan, Jim. Supporting engineering education through calculus success [online]. In: 27th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education : AAEE 2016. Lismore, NSW: Southern Cross University, 2016: 629-635. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=697728685960154;res=IELENG> ISBN: 9780994152039. [cited 27 Jun 17].

Personal Author: Nite, Sandra B; Donald, Allen G; Capraro, Robert M; Bicer, Ali; Morgan, Jim; Source: In: 27th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education : AAEE 2016. Lismore, NSW: Southern Cross University, 2016: 629-635. DOI: Document Type: Conference Paper ISBN: 9780994152039 Subject: Engineering--Education; Calculus--Study and teaching; Engineering mathematics; Web-based instruction; Engineering--Management; Peer Reviewed: Yes Affiliation: (1) Aggie STEM, Texas A and M University, email: snite@math.tamu.edu
(2) Aggie STEM, Texas A and M University
(3) Aggie STEM, Texas A and M University
(4) Aggie STEM, Texas A and M University
(5) Charles Sturt University

Database: Engineering Collection