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StyleBox["Managing Mathematica",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
" Assignments \n",
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"\n",
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"Patrice Conrath\nBethel College\nSt. Paul, MN\nconrath@bethel.edu",
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FontWeight->"Roman"]
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Cell["Abstract", "Subtitle"],
Cell[TextData[{
"The extra hassle and time involved with grading ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
" assignments can deter some professors from incorporating ",
StyleBox["Mathematica ",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
"assignments in their classrooms. I will discuss the design,management,and \
grading of assignments and projects which will help to simplify the process \
and make the use of notebooks more practical. Time will be spent sharing \
participants' time saving ideas as well."
}], "Text"],
Cell[CellGroupData[{
Cell["Logistics", "Subtitle"],
Cell[CellGroupData[{
Cell["Preparing Students", "Section"],
Cell[CellGroupData[{
Cell["Introduce the operating system(s) and e-mail system", "Subsection"],
Cell[TextData[{
StyleBox[" Before students begin to use ",
FontWeight->"Roman"],
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontWeight->"Roman",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
StyleBox[
", make sure you have introduced them to the system(s) they will use in \
labs and/or classrooms. During a ",
FontWeight->"Roman"],
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontWeight->"Roman",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
StyleBox[" session, students will often blame ",
FontWeight->"Roman"],
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontWeight->"Roman",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
StyleBox[
" for problems that are usually the result of their own ignorance about the \
operating system or how ",
FontWeight->"Roman"],
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontWeight->"Roman",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
StyleBox[" works. If possible offer ",
FontWeight->"Roman"],
"supervised",
StyleBox[
" lab times when students can concentrate on learning the fundamentals of \
using different computing environments and learning the e-mail system at your \
school.",
FontWeight->"Roman"]
}], "Text",
FontWeight->"Bold"]
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Cell[CellGroupData[{
Cell[TextData[{
"Give basic survival skills for ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
" (kernel, Clear, etc.)"
}], "Subsection"],
Cell[TextData[{
"Novice ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
" users often find incredible new ways to make mistakes. Arm your students \
with ways to get themselves out of the holes they create! Teaching students \
to understand how the kernel works (understanding how it loads during the \
first calculation, how to disconnect it, or abort a calculation, etc.), and \
how to ",
StyleBox["Clear",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
" constants and functions can save the student many minutes (that seem like \
hours) of frustration. Teach these skills at the beginning of the course."
}], "Text"]
}, Open ]],
Cell[CellGroupData[{
Cell["Use Tutorials and Exercises", "Subsection"],
Cell[TextData[{
"Have students use a good tutorial to learn basic ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
" skills. I highly recommend: ",
StyleBox["The Beginner's Guide to ",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontWeight->"Bold",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
StyleBox[" vs. 3",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
" by Jerry Glynn and Theodore Gray. This is the only tutorial I have found \
for version 3. I have just completed some exercises which will be included \
with the new update of the CD version of this text (available through ",
StyleBox["Mathware",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
" (http://mathware.com/ )). \n\nPracticing problems seems to be a key \
factor in student's success with ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
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", so make sure that students not only read the tutorial but are also \
accountable for completing corresponding exercises. Students will not \
usually take the initiative to practice the commands on their own. The \
exercises included with the CD version of ",
StyleBox["The Beginner's Guide to ",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontWeight->"Bold",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
StyleBox[" vs. 3",
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", can be edited by the instructor to suit individual needs of the course. \
"
}], "Text"]
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}, Open ]],
Cell[CellGroupData[{
Cell["Designing Assignments", "Section"],
Cell[CellGroupData[{
Cell["Determine the desired level of difficulty", "Subsection"],
Cell[TextData[{
"Many factors in the design of your notebook will be determined by whether \
your students are novice or advanced ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
" users.\n\n",
StyleBox["Notebook Style",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
": prefab notebook vs. outline given \nIt is always good to give some \
structure as this saves time when grading, however, advanced students will \
only need an outline format, while beginning students will require more \
detailed instructions, and \"fill in the blank\"-type notebooks.\n\n",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontWeight->"Bold",
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StyleBox[" Code required",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
": editing code, mimicking or using simple commands vs. no prompts given \
and/or writing own code\nThe beginning student should be shown example lines \
of code, however intermediate students should be given a task without \
reference to the required ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
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" functions. Advanced students can write code to complete a task or edit \
more complicated code to show understanding of its application to a new \
situation. \n\n",
StyleBox["Final Product",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
": simple fill-in-the blank assignment vs. well written student report\n\
The format of the final report will vary as well. Beginning students will \
turn in notebooks that will be nearly identical to your key. Advanced \
students should be given more freedom to show their creativity and \
understanding of appropriate uses of ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
". It is often useful to have advanced students complete a \"clone-type\" \
exercise notebook first, and then write a more polished report later (after \
they have received comments back from the first notebook). The type of \
assignment will also determine the type of grading involved (see \
\"Grading/Assigning Grade Weight to Notebooks\" below)."
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StyleBox["Structure: ",
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"Give a good outline for the entire project or assignment (",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
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" works naturally here with its nice formatting and visual cues). Try to \
keep the focus on the problem at hand instead of the wonders of ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
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".\n\n",
StyleBox["Size: ",
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"Shorter assignments will be completed in a single notebook. However, if \
the project is large, break the assignment into several notebooks - it feels \
better to complete a notebook instead of only a long section. \n\n",
StyleBox["Due Dates: ",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
"Break longer projects into pieces and space out the due dates."
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Cell[CellGroupData[{
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Cell["Introducing Notebooks", "Subsection"],
Cell[TextData[{
"Outlines: ",
StyleBox[
"When notebooks are assigned, it is useful to make an overhead that shows \
the overall structure of the notebook (collapse all cells down to show the \
major sections). This will familiarize the student with the structure and \
the major topics which will be covered in that particular notebook. \n \nWhen \
assigning a larger notebook, it may be useful for the student to have a paper \
copy of this outline, so that they can keep the structure in mind, and can \
organize the ideas more readily in their minds. The outline will also \
provide a good note taking mechanism, and/or a place to note which sections \
have been completed.\n\n",
FontWeight->"Plain"],
"Survival Tips: ",
StyleBox[
"Giving a few survival tips with each assignment can help students to focus \
on the project at hand instead of the computer skills required to get there. \
",
FontWeight->"Roman"],
StyleBox[
"Remind students that using cut and paste techniques will save them time as \
they work through the notebooks. Also, review how the kernel behaves, and \
how to evaluate a notebook, and disconnect a kernel if problems arise. \n\n",
FontWeight->"Plain"],
"Pairs vs. Individuals:",
StyleBox[" ",
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StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontWeight->"Roman",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
StyleBox[" ",
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StyleBox[
"assignments and projects should be completed in general by 1 - 2 people \
per assignment. Working in pairs gives opportunities for peer learning and \
reduces the workload for graders. ",
FontWeight->"Plain"]
}], "Text",
FontWeight->"Bold"]
}, Open ]],
Cell[CellGroupData[{
Cell["E-Mail Tips", "Subsection"],
Cell[TextData[{
StyleBox["Mailing Notebooks: ",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
"When e-mailing notebooks, have students use an attachment and mail the \
whole notebook. If space is an issue, students can copy only their answers \
into another notebook, and send the reduced notebook to you or the grader. \n\
\n",
StyleBox["Subject Heading: ",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
"It is helpful to have students provide a meaningful subject heading in \
their message. The following format may be useful: \t\t\n\n\t",
StyleBox["Subject",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
": \"student name(s),\" followed by notebook title or homework assignment \
number. \n\nIf a grader grades the notebooks and forwards them on to you, \
although the graders name will appear in the \"From\" section, the student \
name will still appear in the subject portion when forwarded.\n\n",
StyleBox["Notebooks Names: ",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
"It may also be useful to have students name their notebook with their \
initials preceding the regular title. Then, if the notebooks are pulled out \
of e-mail, and into another directory, each student's notebook can be easily \
identified without opening each one."
}], "Text"]
}, Open ]]
}, Open ]],
Cell[CellGroupData[{
Cell["Grading", "Section"],
Cell[CellGroupData[{
Cell["Logistics", "Subsection"],
Cell[TextData[{
StyleBox["Making Keys:",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
" When keys are created, make the answers in the keys a different color \
(red) so that graders know which pieces should be supplied by the student. \
It may also be helpful to request that students give their answers in a \
certain color so that they may be easily found. \n\nBefore giving a key to a \
grader, first evaluate the notebook (so all graphics are rendered) and if \
desired, print out the \"Key\" notebook. Handwrite point values for each \
section, or type point values directly in the notebook with a different color \
and or font size or cell type.\n\n",
StyleBox["Grading Electronically:",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
" Grading the notebooks electronically allows you to play with students' \
code and edit it if necessary. If you edit code, make your additions clear \
by using a different color or bold font. (*Comment out any unnecessary \
code*).\n\nTo speed up the grading process, keep another notebook to the side \
with commonly used comments to copy and paste into student notebooks. Grade \
in a different font using subtitle mode so that comments are easily found. \
Send this edited version back to the students and hold students accountable \
for reading the comments. For larger projects, you may ask students to redo \
pieces of the project and re-submit it to you. \n\n",
StyleBox["Assigning Grade Weight to Notebooks:",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
" The weight given to exercise notebooks versus polished paper notebooks \
will be different. Simple exercise notebooks may be given a small weight in \
the grading system, while polished papers have a higher weight. To motivate \
students to learn the concepts in an exercise notebook that has little \
weight, promise students that the concepts and ideas will show up on a major \
test. In-class ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
" exams can also quickly show which students have been faithfully \
completing assignment notebooks."
}], "Text"]
}, Open ]],
Cell[CellGroupData[{
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Cell[TextData[{
StyleBox["Use",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
StyleBox[" Mathematica",
FontWeight->"Bold",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
StyleBox[" Commands",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
": It is usually obvious when students copy ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
" work, but several ",
StyleBox["Mathematica",
FontSlant->"Italic"],
" commands can also be used to help to personalize the notebooks. The ",
StyleBox["Date",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
" command can be evaluated at the top of each notebook to show when \
students complete the notebook. You can also have students include the \
machine and session specific commands with each assignment to help to curtail \
cheating (",
StyleBox["$MachineType",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
",",
StyleBox["$SessionID",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
"). Reviewing document specific information available on your system, such \
as \"owner\" and \"date completed\" will also be useful (and a little more \
stealthy!).\n\n",
StyleBox["Alter Notebooks slightly",
FontWeight->"Bold"],
": Changing exercises by slightly altering functions or constants (either \
when a new semester begins, or for different student groups) can also reveal \
a duplicate notebook."
}], "Text"]
}, Open ]]
}, Open ]],
Cell[CellGroupData[{
Cell["Your Tips", "Section"],
Cell["\<\
Do you have any tips that have helped you to simplify the \
assignment process? Please write them below to share with others.\
\>",
"Text"]
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Cached data follows. If you edit this Notebook file directly, not using
Mathematica, you must remove the line containing CacheID at the top of
the file. The cache data will then be recreated when you save this file
from within Mathematica.
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