Addison-Wesley online materials

CourseCompass

Addison-Wesley uses CourseCompass developed by Pearson Education for course management. This provides a gradebook for each course. Grades from computer given tests are automatically stored here. It offers a test databank and editing software for making computerized tests. Multiple choice and fill-in the blank for numbers but not formulas. There is also a blackboard provided on which students can communicate over the web.

This is much like WebCT for which UH has a license. However it also adds content. I have tried "whiteboard" software but have not found it useful. As with the case for WebCT, chat rooms are also provided. While chat is popular for entertainment, email is better suited for dealing with specific problems. I tried using UH's Maile but have discontinued it. Likewise I doubt I'd use the similar services provided by CourseCompass.

For details,go to Quick Start

MathXL

The Addison-Wesley / Pearson software aimed particularly at generating math exams is MathXL . It offers test banks of multiple-choice quizzes specifically tied to Addison-Wesley texts. The tests can be customized and test generation software is available to instructors. The software requires a plugin which didn't load properly on my PC. I had to switch to another PC to try it out.

MyMathLab

Unlike CourseCompass which is general purpose courseware, MyMathLab consists of packages tied to specific Addison-Wesley texts. This, at long last, provides content and instructional material which goes beyond the test databanks of most other offerings. The courseware material for a given text is available free if that text is adopted.

The courseware is available online via and Addison-Wesley server. CD's with much of the online material come with the text or are available separately for $24.

The material consists of pdf files of the entire book online (students are given an online account; once they login in, it lasts 6 months). It also includes some animated lecturettes, some interactive pages, audio clips which explain selected text passages,and a few video clips. The videos clips in the demo are almost unreadable. This is due to the high amount of compression used to put the material on the web. I would hope that the CD video clips are left uncompressed and hence more readable.

Thinkwell is still the best as far as live lectures are concerned. Their higher resolution and more polished videos aren't suitable for low-bandwidth web use. In fact Thinkwell requires two CDs. Still, although still being worked on, I like MyMathLab content. Michael Williams of Virginia Tech did not like Houghton-Mifflin's similar offering "Houghton-Mifflin is deadly". They have used Addison-Wesley with Margaret Lial's Algebra text. However, at the time of last contact, they were considering developing their own courseware.

Summary

Overall, this offering is worth reconsidering after a year or so. Currently there are bugs in the software which prevented much of it from being displayed on my PC. The hard-to-read videos also need immediate attention. Finally I would be much more interested in MyMathLab if it allowed fill-in-the-blank quizzes.

The material, particularly the tests, is somewhat customizable.