Interim report: ‘Assessing student teams developing mathematical models applied to business and industrial mathematics’

Dr. Edmund Chadwick from the University of Salford has submitted the following interim report for his project.

Interim report (revision) for:
Assessing student teams developing mathematical models applied to business and industrial mathematics.
Project leader: Dr. Edmund Chadwick, University of Salford 

So far, the seminar series given by guest speakers from industry has been completed. This involved 8 speakers in total from a range of business and industry backgrounds, including one speaker from the IMA. The seminars were well-attended and the interaction and participation between the students and the speakers was very good. Feedback from the employers was very positive. Buffet lunch and a speaker fee was provided from the grant.

The students are well under way to completing their case studies, the first entitled: How many hours daylight are there in mid-winter? and the second entitled: What does the most common mortgage repayment method, which is the monthly repayment on a variable APR, mean? Now strong contacts are being made with the participating employers, I am confident of having more company-related case studies originating from the companies themselves to give to the students next year.

I am pleased with the reports submitted so far, and in general the students enjoy the opportunity to be proactive that this module encourages rather than the passive nature of more traditional modules. Negative feedback focusses primarily on a small subset of students that have only attended or contributed in a small way which then disrupts the group dynamics for the other students in the group. I am still working out strategies for next year to minimise this problem.

Their case studies will be presented to employers who will assess them and give feedback. This is yet to take place but has been organised and arranged. Also, the site visits and evaluation of the overall project has yet to be undertaken.

Dissemination is already taking place. This project has been presented by myself in a talk ‘The role of employers’ at the workshop ‘Embedding Graduate Skills in Your Mathematical Sciences Programme’ on 24 November 2010 at Sheffield Hallam University, and also in a case study submitted to the case studies project ‘Developing Graduate Skills in HE Mathematics Programmes’.

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