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HIT has won international funding from the EU's ERASMUS Capacity of Building

The funding presented to HIT is targeted at a prestigious international project which is about to change the way Math is taught in the first year of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering studies. The project is led by Dr. Nissim Harel from the Computer Science Dept., and is shared by 16 additional  academic institutions from Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Austria, the  Czech Republic, Macedonia,Greece and Uzbekistan.

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Dr. Harel: "There is a global problem regarding mathematics studies in higher education institutions that is a consequence of many factors. Among others, many students are ill-prepared for academic studies, many students do not finish their studies, but mostly students claim that the mathematics they study in the academia has no relevancy to their lives. They don't appreciate the importance and the role mathematics plays in solving real-life problems and applications. As a result, many students study mathematics up to a level that enables them to pass the course and not more than that. The project was developed under the assumption that poor achievements in mathematics and the fear from it are mainly the result of the way mathematics is taught in high schools and in Higher Educational Institutions. It lacks the bridges that connect it with real life applications and challenges. As a result, many students perceived mathematics as being divorced from the profession they decided to study and lack motivation to spend time and efforts mastering it.

The project takes a student-centric approach to holistically tackle a myriad of challenges students face when studying mathematics in HEIs. It will build a cycle of:

  1. Motivating students to learn mathematics by demonstrating the importance and relevance of mathematics to their subject
  2. Engaging students in mathematics studies using PBL (Project-Based Learning) and POPBL (Project Oriented Based Learning) methodologies
  3. Building the students' confidence in their ability to succeed using an independent or a pair-learning practice during recitations
  4. Providing students with constant feedback so they will have an accurate assessment of their level of understanding
  5. Identifying students who fall behind and providing them with the appropriate assistance

At this stage, the project focusses on two basic mathematical subjects: Calculus 1 and Linear Algebra. The project will be implemented in the next 3 years in the following manner: the study materials and the necessary tools will be developed during the first year, a pilot will be implemented during the second year in at least two institutions, and during the third year the program will be implemented in 8 institutions in Israel, Uzbekistan and in the Kosovo region.