Computer Algebra
Systems and Undergraduate Mathematics Curriculum
Miroslaw Majewski
majewski@mupad.com
College of Information Systems
Zayed University
United Arab Emirates
Abstract
In recent decades, we faced a number of changes in undergraduate
mathematics curriculum. This process was a bit different in each
country but the general idea was to accommodate in undergraduate
mathematics curriculum topics that are relevant to our times. In
many countries, selected topics that usually were taught in university
were moved to the high school curriculum and some classical mathematical
topics disappeared completely from high school and even from university.
This is quite strange, but such changes very rarely addressed issues
of using computers in teaching mathematics. Now that computers have
become commodity items, generation of complex graphical structures
and difficult calculations has become fast; we have inexpensive
and fast access to a globally connected network, it is reasonable
to ask: what computational topics should be added to the undergraduate
mathematics curriculum, what will be the outcome of such change
and what skills would gain our students? The main objective of this
paper is to analyze teaching of mathematics from a computing point
of view; to highlight changes or at least potential changes in the
mathematics curriculum that follow from using computer applications
and especially Computer Algebra Systems; to investigate some of
the changes in how we teach mathematics; and to describe new skills
that our students acquire from these changes.
