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Faculty Research Fellow
College of Arts and Sciences
567 Lake Hall
WITH STUDENTS ON CO-OP
project will investigate and establish ways in which math department
faculty can regularly work with math majors while on coop to facilitate
a more mathematical understanding of coop jobs and a more experience-based
understanding of mathematics. All too often math majors at Northeastern
have failed to recognize and learn from math on their coop jobs. This
points to a paradox: On one hand, mathematics is a tremendously powerful,
general purpose subject. It is the foundation for most of modern science
and technology and has new-found uses in many fields where it was not
the traditional base. On the other hand, students have great difficulty
seeing its uses. Thus, there is a disconnect between mathematics-as
we-teach-it, and mathematics-as-a-working-tool. At Northeastern it seems
that we ought to be able to use coop and other work experiences to bridge
will address a number of questions, including both practical and pedagogical
is the best structure for bridging this gap (e.g., a formal course,
informal telephone or e-mail communication between students and faculty)?
kind of evaluative process should be put in place to determine if
this connection is working?
are everyone’s (e.g., student, faculty, employer) expectations
of everyone else?
issues: Do they get academic credit? Are they more employable? Does
this cut into their time after work or on the job? Who gets credit
for their ideas?
issues: What are the responsibilities and time obligations? What are
the teaching issues here? What are the non-disclosure restrictions?
How am I compensated for my time?
issues: What are the security, non-disclosure, and proprietary issues?
Will this take student time away from work? Will it contribute to
faculty expertise and training?
faculty and student preparation needs to take place (including, curriculum
can faculty do to help students learn from the coop experience?
is it so hard to move from the abstract to the concrete?
can we help bridge the gap between differences in the school and work
environments? (especially differences in problem solving, attention
to task, expectations of initiative and originality, and teamwork)
effect does social context have on student learning?