Supporting engineering students learning mathematical induction with an online tutorial

Mika Gabel*, Vladimir Bar Lukianov, Tamar Margalit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


We describe an online tutorial that was developed in order to support first year engineering students' learning about mathematical induction (MI). The tutorial integrates theoretical explanations, examples and interactive reflective questions, and was designed to increase students' engagement by creating frequent interactions and using a varied collection of reflective questions. The tutorial was developed according to research-based knowledge concerning students' difficulties with MI and considering global vs. local proof comprehension. We examined the effects of the MI tutorial on the following students' achievements: (i) students' grade in the final quiz of the tutorial (FTG); (ii) students' grade in the MI question in the final exam of the course. We collected students' initial/final quiz-grades (ITG, FTG), the time students worked on the tutorial, the number of final quiz trials and students' grades in the MI question in the final exam in five semesters (before/after incorporating the tutorial). Our findings indicate that the mean FTG is significantly higher than the mean ITG (e.g., in the first semester, N=152, mean ITG=34.5; mean FTG=73.2). Apparently, the instructional part of the tutorial had a positive short-term effect on students' FTG. However, we did not find a major effect of the MI tutorial on students' grade in the MI exam question (regardless of the type of claims to be proved and other circumstantial exam settings). We also found that most students answer the MI question in the exam, which may suggest that students believe that they understand the use of MI; yet, their mean grade in this question is not very high (51.7-68.8). In addition, a change in course policy (including the FTG in the course's final grade), motivated students to achieve a high FTG but the time that students worked on the tutorial decreased, which may explain the lack of long-term effect.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication18th CDIO International Conference, CDIO 2022 - Proceedings
EditorsMaria Sigridur Gudjonsdottir, Haraldur Audunsson, Arkaitz Manterola Donoso, Gudmundur Kristjansson, Ingunn Saemundsdottir, Joseph Timothy Foley, Marcel Kyas, Angkee Sripakagorn, Janne Roslof, Jens Bennedsen, Kristina Edstrom, Natha Kuptasthien, Reidar Lyng
PublisherChalmers University of Technology
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9789935965561
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event18th International CDIO Conference, CDIO 2022 - Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 13 Jun 202215 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International CDIO Conference
ISSN (Electronic)2002-1593


Conference18th International CDIO Conference, CDIO 2022


  • Mathematical induction
  • Online tutorial
  • Proof teaching
  • Standards: 2,8,11
  • Tertiary mathematics


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