Prentice Hall

MathPro5

MathPro5 is a comprehensive courseware package. It has short video lecturettes. Interactive problem (java applets) for students to practice on, then quizzes which can be graded online. The quizzes allow formula entry which is beats the typical multiple choice quizzes. In fact there is an easy-to-use formula entry calculator which generated a nicely formatted formula display. It would be nice if it also accepted the standard x^2 formula input.

It also has the usual courseware grading programs which lets one keep grade records which are available to the students. Online tutoring is also available.

The price is very reasonable, $26.00 standalone, or $7.50 when purchased with the text: Sullivan's Precalculus ($70.00).

The website is www.mathpro5.com but you will need a login name and password. These are available from the regional sales directory Megan Donnelly megan_Donnelly@prenhall.com

I like much of the package. The interactive java applets are often clever. But the overall package is not professional or, for me, fully workable. The web version window refused to open full-size. Hence even for very small unillustrated one-paragraph problems in plain text, I have to scroll both horizontally and vertically. The web lecturettes have highly compressed video and sound. Navigation was often confusing with the screen often littered with previously done problems.

The CD version I received for the Precalculus Series on had only College Algebra and no Trigonometry. But it did solve the window/navigation problem and had good audio quality. But it took several tries to install. The instructions said to first go to the "login.html" in the root directory of the CD, but there was no such file. There was an exe program in the root but it wouldn't run. The "Readme.txt file" mentioned a "setup.exe" file in a subdirectory which eventually got things going. Even though it was a CD, it still insisted I register via the web. The CD seems self-contained and once registered, further web access didn't seem to be needed. So I presume registration is just a formality.

In spite of its problems, the material is there for College Algebra. Maybe also for Precalculus with some other CD. The hard work has been done - formula entry for quizzes, interactive problems. With a little more effort and fewer bugs, this package could be made into a winner. Although other packages are better in certain areas, overall this is one of my favorites. I hope that a future version will feature problem-free installation, will include Precalculus rather than just College Algrebra and will be self-contained without requiring any web-access.

Dale Myers