Utilizing Virtual Reality Learning Environment for Undergraduate Math Teaching

By Jian-ao Lian, Yonghui Wang and Yonggao Yang.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It is always a challenge to effectively teach fundamental math courses to entry level freshmen, and in fact, to high level undergraduate students as well. On one hand, some students’ high school math learning habits are not adequate for college; on the other hand, some students were mathematically under-prepared. Although there have been numerous experiments and studies during the past two decades on improving the efficiency of math teaching, we believe that the virtual reality learning environment is a better tool to engage students in a fun math-learning experience. The proposed system possesses unique power that traditional or conventional classroom teaching does not provide, including but not limited to: (1) helping students understand complex, abstract, and non-intuitive concepts and systems; (2) enhancing instruction by making the learning experience game-like, while still retaining the underlying content; and (3) enabling instructors to create a better learning environment for those students having difficulty in learning from the traditional classroom setting. This paper introduces the proposed VRMathLab system, which opens a new door for improving undergraduate math teaching methods as well as learning, and can be used in a wide range of possible ways, such as through individual laptops, labs, and servers for distance learning.

Keywords: Game-like, Haptically, Math Teaching Module, Virtual Environment

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.105-116. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 6.354MB).

Dr. Jian-ao Lian

Professor, Department of Mathematics, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas, USA

Jian-ao Lian received both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in mathematics from Xian Jiaotong University, Xian, China, in 1984 and 1987, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in mathematics from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, in 1993. He is currently a professor of mathematics at Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX, one of the nine campuses of the Texas A&M University System in Texas. He was an assistant professor at Xian Jiaotong University from April 1987 to August 1989 and a postdoctoral research associate and lecturer at Texas A&M University from September 1993 to August 1994. He is among the first to develop the orthonormal scaling functions and wavelets with symmetry by using the dilation factor a = 3 as well as orthonormal scaling function vectors and multiwavelets. He is currently working on implementing some of the new image processing algorithms and developing 2-D and 3-D multiwavelets. His research interests include wavelets and applications, computer- aided geometric design, and signal and image processing. Dr. Lian is also a member of AMS and IEEE.

Dr. Yonghui Wang

Assistant Professor, Engineering Technology, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas, USA

Yonghui Wang is currently an associate professor of engineering technology at Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX. He was an Electrical Engineer for the 41st Electrical Research Institute, Bengbu, China, from 1993 to 1996, and an IT Specialist, IBM China, Beijing, China, in 1999. His research AREAS include Signal processing, image processing and coding, video-coding algorithms, speech coding algorithms, wavelets, data-compression algorithms, data visualization. He received his PhD in Computer Engineering, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS, in 2003. Dr. Wang is also a member of IEEE.

Dr. Yonggao Yang

Associate Professor and Interim Department Head, Computer Science, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas, USA

Yonggao Yang is an associate professor and interim department head in the Department of Computer Science at Prairie View A&M University. His research interests include computer graphics, scientific visualization and virtual reality, computer animation, distributed virtual environments, and computer networks. Dr. Yang has a PhD in information technology from George Mason University in 2002.