Towards Higher Order Thinking Skills in Scientific Computing

Henrik Brandén
Numerical Analysis
Mathematics Department
Linköping University


I will present a course development project that I performed during the fall of 2010 at Tekniska höskolan in Linköping. The goal was to promote training of higher order thinking skills in introductory courses in scientific computing, and thereby increase both the number of students passing the examination and the number of students with higher grades.

Inspired by so called constructive alginment, the approach was to align all parts of the courses in such a way that the requirements for each grade became clearer to the students. This required a comprehensive and thorough review of the courses, including learning objectives, assessments, course materials, and course outlines.

The new form was tested on different groups of students. On some of the courses there was an increase in the number of students passing the examination. On others, the increase was only marginal, and instead course evaluations showed a significant increase in popularity.