Fifteen years of experience with modelling courses in the Eindhoven program of applied mathematics

J.C. Perrenet, I.J.B.F. Adan

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The curriculum of Applied Mathematics at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands includes a series of modelling projects: the so-called Modelling Track. This track was introduced in the curriculum fifteen years ago and has a specific educational approach. Mathematics that may be useful in the projects is not necessarily taught in courses preceding the modelling projects. Moreover, during the projects, students have to use their current skills and knowledge or even have to learn (or discover) new techniques by themselves. Overall, this teaching method has been quite successful in terms of students¿ results and satisfaction. Project coaches have always been recruited from the entire department and gradually, the majority of the staff has become pleased with this method of modeling education. Throughout fifteen years, the structure and content of the series of projects have evolved. This article is based on reflections concerning these changes expressed by the coordinator of the mathematical modelling education (the second author) and the educational advisor (the first author), both of whom have been closely involved in the track¿s development over the years. These changes will be described and their external as well as internal causes will be identified. Examples of external causes are developments of technical phenomena in society, university-wide educational innovations, and a change in the overall structure of the university¿s academic calendar. An example of an internal cause is the variety in background of the project coaches. Finally, strengths and weaknesses of the track will be analyzed. The purpose of the article is to share the experiences with this way of teaching mathematical modelling in higher education and give advice to others who want to implement it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Mathematical Modelling and Application
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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