Keep in mind, however, that once you have your course set up in a publisher’s system, it will be very hard to change books. They are characterized by assignments , may have local proctors , and have an associated gradebook. The course web site shows them what their current standing is in the class, and what they need to work on next. The products may have improved, or new features may have been added. All other testing tools were limited to multiple choice answer, or required a write-out answer in one particular form.
One part is the mathematics problem engine, which will present a problem to a student and grade the answer. Keep in mind that these systems are constantly evolving. Typically the entire text of the textbook is available online in PDF form, sometimes with hot links: It is usually possible to use only the mathematics engine, and use WebCT or nothing at all for the course management part. Scripts on the web site let them change study groups, download and submit Excel homeworks, and other things.
ALEKS has its own ideas of what a student should study next, and it refuses to budge. MapleTA is actually a little servet from the others in that it can interface to Maple for symbolic calculation, but we never used that capability.
The TAs can enter attendance by hand if there is a problem. I found it impossible to assign specific topics to students. I think it used to be a two-stage product, but it seems to be a single unit now.
The equation editor has some counter-intuitive behavior, but this is supposed to get fixed by June One part is the mathematics problem engine, which will present a problem to a student and grade the answer. On the bad side, we have run into many annoying bugs with the user interface and record-keeping in the various forms of eGrade.
Every version seems to fix some problems, and introduce new ones. After that, it mostly runs itself.
John Orr – Web Development
The students could take the quiz several times to improve their scores. The problems were a little bit different each time. Administration of eGrade is accomplished through the eGrade Web interface by a system administratorwho can create classes with associated instructors derver global testbanks, and create global proctors who are able to proctor any proctored assignmentinstructorswho can edit classes, add and edit private testbanks, add and edit assignments, examine results for students taking the assignments, and create class proctors, and proctorswho can log in to allow a student to take a proctored assignment and have their score counted.
I tried a sample problem during a demonstration, which was finding the diagonal of a rectangle. Several calculus instructors have also used a few online homework problems to supplement their ergade based course.
We have refined some of the details over time and added features, and everything runs very smoothly know, but it still requires a knowledgeable person to troubleshoot. The developers have broken the material into very small blocks, and decided which blocks are prerequisites for others, and which are related.
If a student can’t do a problem, ALEKS will give hints, give easier problems, go back to earlier topics, whatever aerver necessary. You also have to download and install several browser plugins before it will run. MathZone lets you build your own questions, not just select from questions provided by the publisher. They are all basically the same and can sercer the same test banks. It has a place for the instructor’s homeworm pages, internal email, calendar, chat rooms, bulletin boards, grade book, quizzes, etc.
All of them can handle multiple choice questions very well. Each assignment consists of some number of questions taken from each sever the topics in the testbank the assignment uses. The courses continued and were eventually moved into WebCTbut not otherwise updated.
The publishers are closing the gap, but they are not quite there yet.
Practice, homework, and proctored types have a defined passing score ; homework and proctored types may have a time limit. This probably makes it more efficient to egrace later, but it might be a problem if the students are not capable homeworm doing that on their own.
This is the main reason we continue to use eGrade. There is a gradebook, of course, calendar, bulletin board, and so on. The TAs teach small sections in a computer lab, and have several office hours each.
CourseCompass does not have these restrictions, only Eggade. It has a lot of nice features, including videos and links to computer algebra systems for further exploration. If it doesn’t, you need to decide if you can live with that or not.
In addition to being able to create testbanks through the Web interface, there is a Perl script provided with eGrade that converts appropriately formatted LaTeX files into eGrade testbanks. EduSpace is the Houghton-Mifflin product.