The @MATEC Archives

Volume 1, Number 4

Semiconductor Manufacturing Process Education Paradigm Shift
From the Perspective of a Community College Math and Statistics Faculty
By Howard Speier

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In the three years that we have offered an Associate of Arts degree in semiconductor manufacturing at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC), I have experienced a tremendous educational shift in the teaching of mathematics, statistics and technology.

The following methodologies and resources are proven tools for encouraging our students to be active participants in the classroom.  Faculty must be the critical players in shifting classroom instruction from passive learning strategies (such as lecture and rote learning) to more active learning strategies. 

·        Cooperative Learning is instruction that involves people working in teams to accomplish a common goal, under conditions that involve both positive interdependence (all members must cooperate to complete a task) as well as individual and group accountability (each member is accountable for the complete final outcome).

Cooperative Learning is a highly structured form of collaborative learning that provides a practical framework for implementing many mutual educational goals.  Research has shown that:

1.      Student retention and academic success rates were significantly higher in cooperative learning classes.

2.      Students in cooperative learning classes showed a significant increase in critical thinking skill when compared with non-equivalent control groups.

Johnson, David W., Johnson, Roger T., and Smith, Karl A. 1991.  Cooperative Learning: Increasing college faculty instructional productivity.

·        Graphing Calculators can enhance discourse in the mathematics and related fields by promoting student investigations of functions and problems, especially in the context of group learning.  Graphing calculators allow students to graph functions, but they also give them the opportunity to find functions and make predictions by determining best-fit lines and curves for a data set.  Some applications are regressions, plotting, statistics and verifying by various approaches (graphical, numerical, analytical and geometrical).

This is the first article of a series on active learning strategies and technologies in the classroom.

For additional information, strategies and web-based resources/links, visit our website at  http://MATEC.org   ---  “Faculty Development Page”  ---  “Featured Articles Page.”