The School of Engineering - University of Auckland BANS HP + Ti calculators



#2

Hi,

I am a 3rd year EEE student at the School of Engineering, The University of Auckland, New Zealand. The engineering school has just banned all "fancy" calculators. The most we can use is a casio fx-82... (for those who don't know - a middle school scientific calculator).

This is a link to the offical SoE web-site:

http://www.engineering.auckland.ac.nz/Studentinfo/calculator.htm

This is Political Correctness gone mad... The exams will be made easier so that the same level of pass can be obtained. This effectively dumbs-down the quality of Auckland's Engineering Degree. Aparently since you cannot do complex number calculations on an Fx82... these will not be asked in exams or tests... and probably will not even be taught to us.

If there are any academics or students from other universities in other countries who read this... could you email the Dean of the SoE... and tell him in no uncertain terms what the wider international-academic community think of this...

peter.brothers@auckland.ac.nz


Thank you for your time,

Anthony deFen


#3

They just don't want formulae and/or text letters.

The 10C, 11C, 15C would work.

So would the HP9S and HP30S, for that matter.

Gene


#4

This may be stupid wishful thinking, but if HP could "resurrect" an old model, whatever fancy new case or model number they want to give it, they might appeal to schools or organizations with these concerns.

Namely, I was thinking of the old 25C, 31E, 32E, etc., that have only so many memory registers, the usual complement of scientific functions and not a whit more, and no or very, very limited programming ability.

To those of us who have to use such a machine for work, it won't be nearly enough, but for come schools, such as this gentleman's university, or even middle or junior high or intermediate schools, a calculator with only trig, exponentials, arithmetic operators, inverse, maybe even factorial (gamma function) and continuous memory (I suppose this is a given, these days) will only enhance the learning of basic to advanced mathematics. The only thing it won't really handle would be numerical analysis, and even then, if one has a lot of time...

#5

Anthony deFen posted,

Quote:
This is Political Correctness gone mad... The exams will be made easier so that the same level of pass can be obtained. This effectively dumbs-down the quality of Auckland's Engineering Degree. Aparently since you cannot do complex number calculations on an Fx82... these will not be asked in exams or tests... and probably will not even be taught to us.

I can't agree about "Political Correctness gone mad", but I certainly hope that the calculator restrictions would not affect the curriculum.

It's unfortunate that this standard prohibits the 33S/32SII/32S, but the UoA's approach seems to me much more fair and exacting than the one taken by the NCEES organization. Note that UoA prohibited calculators with the full alphabet available (to target true alphanumeric models, as opposed to those having just a few letters -- e.g, HP-11C, HP-15C, Casio fx-115MS). Also note that that students are given the opportunity to get compliant unfamiliar models approved beforehand. Even if "caught" using such a model, the student's calculator is checked afterwards for compliance (after temporary confiscation!).

By contrast, NCEES simply published a short list of acceptable models, which excludes all discontinued models. NCEES prohibits "text-editing capability", rather than alphanumeric capability, without really defining that.

I'll take Gene's point a bit further, though -- the HP-15C might be the only truly-comprehensive calculator that meets UoA's requirements! I used the 15C through three degree programs and the USA's EIT/FE standard exam for engineers, and wish that I'd be able to use it for the Progessional Engineer exam.

-- KS

Edited: 1 Mar 2005, 12:44 a.m.

#6

It is not political correctness gone mad, it is paranoia about cheating taken to extreme, just like the NCEES calculator ban. The policy does seem to be a little more flexible than the NCEES ban which has the approved list and that's it, no questions asked. If you showed them the primitive text abilities that the 33S has with the alphabet on the keyboard, perhaps they would approve it. The NCEES doesn’t seem to have a problem with the alpha capabilities of the 33S. If they won't approve it and you want an RPN calculator for a reasonable price, pick up an HP-45. You can add and subtract complex numbers in rectangular form using the Sigma+ and Sigma- keys, and it does rectangular to polar conversions.


#7

Simply it´s a stupid politics...i can understand the NCEES idea but in the university it semms to be something stupid...the fx82 is a VERY old model....in the real world even the most powerful calculator have limited utility (PC applications are by FAR better, powerful and faster)...the idea must be use a powerful tool knowing all the subject...one thing do not discard the other one...

#8

Hi, all;

It is too sad that this sort of things have gone too far. I cannot help quoting:

Quote:
It is not political correctness gone mad, it is paranoia about cheating taken to extreme(…)
Thanks, Jeff O., yours is a good thinking as I see.

If the educational institutes are aware of what is actually going on inside their classrooms, it is not necessary to take measures against a problem that is easily handled before examinations. I know, I know, it is almost impossible to keep track of each student’s activities, but allowing teachers to act at the very moment they’re aware of such problems would significantly reduce students ‘need’ for cheating. When I mention students ‘need’ for cheating I mean the way some students find to get rid of a low final grade. Well, why not to interfere in this process and somehow ‘recover’ these students so they can face examination without worrying about it too much? At the very first class, I tell my students that if they come and pay attention to classes, participate, express their doubts and ask for answers, then examinations and their grades are the smallest of their problems. Otherwise I know they will be in trouble and try to cheat. All I ask them is to think of their future: when will cheating define them as good professionals?

Give students real-word responsibilities and you are actually growing pro-active professionals. Hence, using or not using calculators will be no issue in the classroom nor in the examination.

At least this is what I believe on. And I know some of the contributors in this forum do not actually agree with much of what I wrote here. I understand their point of view and I respect them all, believe me.

Cheers.

Luiz (Brazil)

P.S. – Anthony, I’m an Electrical Engineer and I teach at a Brazilian university. I also earn a post –graduation in Pedagogy and I believe guys like Seymour
Papert and Paulo Freire have not waste their time trying to enhance education. If you believe I can make any difference, ask the guys in your university to read this post and, if applicable, contact me: lcvieira at quantica dot com dot br


Edited: 1 Mar 2005, 12:20 p.m.

#9

Are they even banning the Casio FX-100? That does complex, doesn't it? I'm sure they're just suggesting the FX-82 as that's what everyone has in high school.

I don't think this is a problem though. I was there for the 1st Professional Year in 1995 (before i switched to CompSci) and we had pretty much the same restrictions. We weren't even allowed any calculators in the Engineering Maths exam. Aside from not having to calcuate sines of arbitary numbers, the exam wasn't dumbed down at all. Sometimes calculators just slow you down.

That was the same year i got introduced to the wonderful HP-48G. I never expected it would be allowed in exams.


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