Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fourth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Initiating a Translational Bio-Mathematics Research Seminar for Undergraduate Students
Emma Turian, Lidia Filus

Last modified: 10-05-2018


The aim of this paper is to illustrate the benefits and the drawbacks of an experimental process on how to develop and teach an interdisciplinary applied math course. The analysis comes from our experience gained during the development and teaching of a temporary seminar called: Mathematical Modeling for Cancer Risk Assessment, implemented at our University. The need for the initiation of such an interdisciplinary course came from an increasing national effort started by Mathematical Association of America’s “Curriculum Foundations Project: Voices of the Partner Disciplines”. Their study found that research in biology and health-related fields has become more quantitatively oriented than in the past, therefore mathematical curricula should incorporate interdisciplinary modulation. Our seminar instruction included: writing and mathematical software skills, content lecture, project development and presentation. Results showed that students best interact with each other if work is performed during class time; mainly if a large project with possible variations is developed in class, so students or groups of students follow using the same pace. Implementing such interdisciplinary course that provided students with appropriate tools and methodologies, contributed to student retention, and increased students’ enthusiasm towards future research programs, carriers, and graduate schools.

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