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Calculus with webMathematica

Charles Wakefield
Organization: University of Texas of the Permian Basin

2004 Wolfram Technology Conference
Conference location

Champaign IL

We have recently received a grant from the University of Texas TeleCampus to produce two web courses in calculus. The calculus II course is partly done and will be demonstrated on a local UTPB server and on my laptop, configured as a server. Ultimately Blackboard will be used as the presentation system for the static content. This will use the UTTeleCampus server in Austin. The static content will be linked to our server at UTPB to take advantage of the dynamic content using webMathematica.

Each module of the course will have an introductory section informing the student as to just which executable instructions might be needed in order that they might better understand and check their work as they make their way through the module. For example the introductory section might recommend that the student would need three different executable instructions, for example, the plot routine, the definite integration routine, and the derivative along with a plot of the function, first derivative, and second derivative. The executable instructions are all programs as JavaServer Pages and will be stored on the UTPB server. A link is provided in the introductory section and the student can open these three executable instructions as pop-up windows and use them periodically as they study the material in the module. Near the end of each module will be some practice exercises with links to a page giving hints and finally a page which gives the answers to the problems.

Each page of each static content module has linkage to a main executable instruction transfer page with individual links to many different executable instructions. This allows students a great deal of flexibility in trying their own ideas.

It is our plan to eventually create courses or hybrids of courses, that is material that will supplement the in-class courses to extent that one normal class meeting per week will not be necessary, in linear algebra, calculus III, and differential equations. A good bit of this work has been done. A student in calculus III can link the executable instruction transfer page and find help with some part of calculus I or II that he or she has forgotten.

The student evaluations of the project have been tremendous. We had over 10,000 hits on our old website (before conversion to JSP) last year.

*Education > College
*Mathematics > Calculus and Analysis > Calculus
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charleswakefield.nb (367.9 KB) - Abstract of talk [for Mathematica 5.0]