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An Evolutionary Text Book--Evolving by Student Activity
Håkan Lennerstad was born in Sweden 1952. He has his Ph.D. in mathematics at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, 1990. His research interests involves partial differential equations, coding theory, combinatorics with multiprocessor applications and mathematics education.
David Erman was born in Sweden in 1974. He completed his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in electrical engineering at Blekinge Institute of Technology in 2000 and 2002 respectively. During his studies he also worked as a lab assistant in programming courses. Between 2001 and 2002 he worked as an assisant lecturer, teaching in several technical subjects, as well as project methodology. Since 2002 he is pursuing a Ph.D. in telecommunication systems with a focus on Internet systems.
Maria Salomonsson was born in Sweden in 1976. She completed her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in electrical engineering at the Blekinge Institute of Technology. Maria has worked as a lab assistant/teacher in linear algebra and signal processing. Since 2006 she is pursuing a Ph.D. in signal processing/telecommunications with current focus on propagation channel modelling.
Successful education requires that the teacher has two knowledge competencies. The teacher not only needs to be familiar with the subject knowledge, it is also essential that the teacher have a realistic, detailed and practical knowledge of the students' understanding of the subject. This second kind of knowledge concerns the students' typical understanding and misunderstanding of the subject, and ways to handle them. It also includes ways to communicate meaning and interest in the subject--not to idealized students, but to real students.
This paper describes a Swedish project that opens a channel allowing a teacher to systematically develop this knowledge while helping students. Teacher-student dialogues are conducted through a web page. As a result of the underlying goal, the project also extends the students' role in their education to a more responsible one. The textbook author uses the students' opinions and work at the web page to improve the book for the benefit of future students. Thus, the textbook evolves to be better adapted to the environment for which it is intended: studies by students.
We present empiric results for an undergraduate distance course in calculus with 20 students.
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Published June 2007; article ID 1405. Copyright © 2007 by Håkan Lennerstad.