A Modeling First DE course

I started a SIMIODE modeling first approach in my two differential courses for the Spring 2016 semester.  Each meets twice a week for 75 minute periods, one of which is in a computer lab with the computer algebra system Maple available.

This semester there are 7 sections of DE at Manhattan College.  All the traditional methods of solving differential equations by hand must be covered.  My students are primarily engineering students who will take a common final with the other sections.   

My plan is to do modeling first activities on the first day of each week when we meet in the lab.  I might have to use about 25 minutes of the 75 minute class with a regular lecture type feel.  However, I am committing 50 minutes of each week--that is 1/3 of my allotted time--to modeling first activities.  I most likely will not do any new activities during the three weeks when we will have in class tests.

Some have used Maple in their calculus classes and some have not.  I am assuming nothing as far as Maple knowledge goes.  As it turns out, that is really not a horrible thing to have to do.  The code is easily learned and easily forgotten when it is not being used.  So I have found that there is little difference between the students who have used Maple before and those who have not.  I also believe that it's not important what technological tool is used.  However, I am sure that it is important that DE students DO use technology--especially given the recent CUPM report on the DE course.

My plan right now is to update this blog each week as the semester progresses.  I will be sharing anything I have distributed and will certainly welcome any questions or concerns.   Here's hoping!!

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