Master's Theses (Mathematics)
http://hdl.handle.net/1957/16491
2017-04-10T16:35:56ZQuantitative Study of Math Excel Calculus Courses
http://hdl.handle.net/1957/60588
Quantitative Study of Math Excel Calculus Courses
Watkins, Christopher H.
About twenty years ago, a large, rural, doctoral granting institution with an undergraduate population of approximately 24,000 in the pacific northwest of the United States established the Math Excel program. Students would attend lectures three times a week for 50 minutes like a traditional course, and they would also attend two workshops per week that are two hours each, in contrast to traditional courses with a 50 minute recitation once per week. For several years the university would offer a few sections of Math Excel for several 100- and 200-level mathematics courses each term. During the 2013-2014 academic year, the university dedicated all sections of Math Excel to a particular section of calculus and implemented a Math Excel section of a calculus every quarter with the sequence of courses consisting of differential calculus, integral calculus, and vector calculus. A Math Excel version of differential calculus, integral calculus, and vector calculus were offered during fall term, winter term, and spring term respectively. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how students in the Math Excel calculus courses performed compared to students in traditional calculus courses. First, a logistic regression model will be used
to model the relationship between pass rates and enrollment in a Math Excel calculus course after controlling for predictor variables and a two-sample t-test will be performed to compare pass rates of students in a Math Excel calculus course and a traditional calculus course. Next, a linear regression model will be used to model the relationship between grade points and enrollment in a Math Excel calculus course and a two-sample t-test will be performed to compare grade points of students in a Math Excel calculus course and a traditional calculus course. Finally, a two-sample t-test will be performed to examine if there is a difference in average grade earned for students that took a Math Excel calculus course in the previous term and students that did not. In each of these cases I found that there is not significant evidence that the Math Excel program has a greater effect on student pass rates, grades, or future grades in calculus courses than traditional versions of the calculus courses. Based on these results, I suggest that more data is gathered to see if there is a change in the results, an in depth analysis of studentsâ€™ demographics and activities outside the classroom, and looking at the instructor effect and execution in the classroom in order to understand how and whether the Math Excel program benefits students in different ways.
Graduation date: 2017
2017-02-28T00:00:00ZVariations of Mathematics in College Algebra Instruction : An Investigation Through the Lenses
of Three Observation Protocols
http://hdl.handle.net/1957/60045
Variations of Mathematics in College Algebra Instruction : An Investigation Through the Lenses
of Three Observation Protocols
Gibbons, Claire J.
College Algebra is a prerequisite for calculus and is thus an important stepping stone in the careers of STEM-intending undergraduates. However, College Algebra has low pass rates across the United States, interrupting studentsâ€™ pathways to success. To address this concern, a research-oriented university in the Northwest United States restructured its College Algebra course to increase student engagement and active learning practices. Despite a new common curriculum, wide variation in the mathematical content that is presented by instructors was observed. Through the lenses of three observation protocols applied to video recordings of College Algebra classrooms, this thesis investigates the mathematical content present in lessons covering two mathematical concepts, evaluates the protocols for their ability to capture the variation in mathematics, and synthesizes these results to offer ideas for future research in College Algebra instruction.
Graduation date: 2017
2016-12-06T00:00:00ZPersistence of Populations in Environments with an Interface
http://hdl.handle.net/1957/59861
Persistence of Populations in Environments with an Interface
Rekow, James A.
We model a fish population in a spatial region comprising a marine protected area and a fishing ground separated by an interface. The model assumes conservation of biomass density and takes the form of a reaction diffusion equation with a logistic reaction term. At the interface, in addition to continuity of biomass density flux, two possible matching conditions are considered: continuity of population density and continuity of biomass density. Neumann conditions are imposed at the physical boundaries.
The eigenvalues of the elliptic problem resulting from the linearization of the model are computed. Necessary and sufficient conditions for the largest eigenvalue to be positive are determined. We show that there exist positive eigenfunctions corresponding to this eigenvalue. If the largest eigenvalue is positive, the population persists, whereas if this eigenvalue is negative, the population goes extinct. A simple sufficient condition for persistence when biomass density is continuous is that the spatially averaged net growth rate is positive. Similarly, if the spatially averaged net body mass growth rate is positive, the population persists when population is continuous.
A brief introduction is given on connections between parabolic partial differential equations and stochastic processes. Questions relating branching stochastic processes and properties of population models that incorporate interfaces are identified.
Graduation date: 2017
2016-09-09T00:00:00ZInterpolation Schemes for Two Dimensional Flow with Applications
http://hdl.handle.net/1957/58804
Interpolation Schemes for Two Dimensional Flow with Applications
Umhoefer, Joseph G.
In this thesis we study a numerical analysis problem motivated by the need to simulate an event such as an oil spill in a deep water environment. Numerical simulation can help to mitigate the disastrous effects of such events by aiding the management of risk assessment and recovery efforts.
However, an accurate simulation of the physical processes involved in the oil spill requires highly sophisticated and accurate numerical models. Equally important is that such a simulation needs to have accurate hydrodynamics data which may either come from observations or from some other computation simulator which predicts the flow of water near the area involved in the spill. In this thesis we discuss a particular technical problem involved with proper interpretation and use of hydrodynamic data.
In numerical analysis, it is often necessary to approximate a given function or interpolate from discrete data. One may have discrete data from sampling or due to solving a partial differential equation at discrete points but require information between the nodes. The motivation for this investigation of interpolation on scattered data is to recreate a smooth function from hydrodynamic data. In other words, we will discuss algorithms that provide a smooth field from given discrete data. The Blowout and Spill Occurrence Model (BLOSOM) developed by the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory models hydrocarbon release events from the sea floor to the final fate of the oil. The generated smooth field could be used in such a model, potentially improving the predicted outcomes.
The errors in prediction of the fate of oil arise, of course, from multiple sources. We study the errors due to the interpolation scheme applied. One particular aspect is also associated with whether the interpolated velocities have non-physical characteristics, specifically whether the interpolated velocities are conservative, given that the true velocities are. Ultimately, we achieve good results using radial basis function interpolation, but the scale of the problem needs to be considered further, as the large data sets in use may make the problem intractable.
Graduation date: 2016
2016-03-14T00:00:00Z