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Abstract

Contribution: This article presents a new look at teaching the Laplace transform for engineering students by emphasizing the obsolescence of the current method of finding the inverse Laplace transform when solving differential equations, and by recognizing the important role of a computer-assisted environment in helping the students understand the main idea behind the Laplace transform, instead of asking the students to repeat computational processes by hand. Background: The Laplace transform is a widely used integral transform that has important applications in many areas of engineering, and therefore, has a central place in the curricula for engineering education. However, according to several research articles, many students experience great difficulties understanding the Laplace transform. Research Question: Is the use of partial fractions and Laplace transform tables necessary for a proper conceptual understanding of the Laplace transform method? Methodology: Using the anthropological theory of the Didactic as an educational platform, the current teaching of the Laplace transform method, is analyzed. A parallel discussion of the teaching of logarithms at the upper secondary school level is drawn, where, previously, this also took place using the tables of logarithms, but now the reliance on calculators is overwhelming. The authors suggest a method of teaching the Laplace transform in a computer-assisted environment. Findings: In the light of the shift in computer hardware and software, the authors conclude by calling for innovation in and revision of engineering education through bridging the gap between procedures and understanding, by using computer software, where it is suitable.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftI E E E Transactions on Education
Antal sider8
ISSN0018-9359
DOI
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

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