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Topic: Topic 1 - Effective Software

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Subject:   Asynchronous Learning Software
Author: Craig Russell
Date: Mar 17 2003
This is my third year using Mallard, an on-line teacher-student interface,
as a supplement to my classroom teaching.  Mallard has a very powerful quiz
structure that has been very easy to use for my math classes (trigonometry,
calculus, algebra 2).  I can give "the usual" multiple choice questions, but
also questions for which calculations are required, and that include
randomization.  Students really like the online quizzes--they can take them
over and over, improving their score each time, and the questions are different
each time.  Mallard includes an online gradebook, and students have enjoyed
being able to access their grades.  Other features I have used include a survey
tool, ability to post graphics and multimedia files, and posting of classroom
handouts and assignments.

Blackboard and WebCT are more comprehensive asynchronous learning packages I
have used; they both offer features similar to Mallard (but their quiz structure
is not as conducive for higher-level thinking problems in a math course), but
they also offer online file storage for group work (students can work on group
projects in class, save work in a group folder, then access the folder from any
computer on the internet to do further work) and an electronic drop box
(students can submit papers online, and I grade them online).  This year I'm
using WebCT exclusively for my Statistics course, and WebCT in conjunction with
Mallard for my other courses.

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