paper.pdf - INTEGRATING EXCEL INTO BUSINESS CALCULUS Mike May S.J Saint Louis University Department of Mathematics and Computer Science 220 N Grand Blvd


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INTEGRATING EXCEL INTO BUSINESS CALCULUS Mike May, S.J. Saint Louis University Department of Mathematics and Computer Science 220 N Grand Blvd Saint Louis, MO 63108 [email protected] Acknowledgement – This work was inspired by a previous ICTCM award winner (2001 Baltimore), Networked Business Mathematics, by Bob Richardson and Brian Felkel, at Appalachian State University. That work is currently available from Kendall and Hunt Publishers This is a report of a work in progress, developing course materials for teaching a course in business calculus with the assumption that the students have daily access to Excel. The plan is to develop an "electronic text", probably in the form of a CD. Currently I would assume that the students bring their laptops to class. It is useful to start by exploring several premises I had in mind as I organized the course and designed material. After looking at the premises I will give an overview that focuses on how this project compares both to the inspiring text and to traditional texts to put this project in perspective. We will then look at an example of an accompanying workbook and give guiding principles for the project. We will look at major places where the choice of technology changes the materials covered. We finish by giving initial reactions to the project and the current status of the project. Premises behind the design of the text: The first set of premises lead to the decision to bring Excel into a business calculus class. A standard issue in mathematics classes aimed at non-majors is to convince students that the mathematics they are learning is connected to their primary field of study. To address that issue, there is a significant advantage to using "industry standard" software, hardware, and to use a selection of problems common in the home discipline of the students. It is clear that, in the business community, Excel is the computational tool of choice. At SLU, the advisory panel to the business school has advocated "Excel across the curriculum." 175
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The second set of premises concern the appropriate way to bring a technology into a course. A first premise here is that any technology used in a classroom will require instructional time teaching the students to use the technology. Additionally, since math courses should be evaluated for teaching mathematics, the incorporation of a technology in a course should be undertaken only if it increases the amount of math content that can be covered. We also note that the curriculum of a course is generally organized by looking at subjects that are accessible to the students. This means that the choice of technology for a course has a subtle but pervasive impact on the content of a course. This means that if a technology is to be seriously used in a course, the model textbook for the course would not work well if the technology was not used in the course.
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