Teaching Non-traditional Applications in Engineering Mathematics: A Case Study
This paper presents and analyses engineering students’ attitudes towards a new experimental course Mathematical Modelling of Survival and Sustainability. The course has a multidisciplinary character and is very practical but its context is not typical for students majoring in engineering. The aims of the course are: to introduce students to some of the techniques, methodologies and principles of mathematical modelling for ecological, environmental, socio-economic and military systems; to involve the students in solving real-life problems adjusted to their region emphasising the aspects of both survival (short term) and sustainability (long term); to encourage students to pay attention to environmental issues. On one hand, the context of the course is not directly related to engineering. On the other hand, chances are that most of the graduates in engineering will be dealing with mathematical modelling of environmental systems in one way or another in their future work because nearly every engineering activity has an impact on the environment. Students’ comments on the above issue are analysed in the paper.