Technical Report 2006-043

Case-Centered Learning of Scientific Computing

Jarmo Rantakokko

September 2006

Traditionally courses in scientific computing teach a large number of methods and algorithms for different mathematical problems. The algorithms are applied on simplified problems and not on real applications. The result is that the students can't see the main thread, they focus only on the details of the methods and don't see the entirety. The students can not put what they learn into perspective and their motivation to study becomes diminished. In this paper we suggest a case-centered approach for learning scientific computing. We use a real-life case, weather prediction, as a starting point for learning. The case is analyzed and discussed in class. To follow up the discussions the students are assigned learning tasks in scientific computing defined from the case analysis. The real-life application connects the different topics in scientific computing together and motivates the students. The response from the students has been positive and the case has increased their understanding of what scientific computing is and what it can be used for.

Available as compressed Postscript (20 kB, no cover) and Postscript (54 kB, no cover)

Download BibTeX entry.