Phase 1: Launching service, evolving standards for quality

(November 1994 - December 1995)

- Original Announcement posted to discussion groups
- Used a simple email-based system - everyone saw everything
- What kind of service do we want to be? Homework help? Reference service? Interactive tutoring?
- What distinguishes a helpful answer from a bad one?
- Will we try to answer all the questions we get? If not, which ones will we choose?
- Some examples:

1 and 0

Pi, Irrational Numbers, Purpose of Zero

3rd Grade addition problem

Adding pets

Solving problems the hard way

Circle Chords

Lines determined by 5 points

Phase 2: Building archive, incorporating outside volunteers, implementing standards

(January 1996 - March 1997)

- We shift the focus to the building of a resource of previously answered questions.
- We start involving volunteers from outside the Swarthmore Community.
- We build a software package that manages the flow of questions and answers and assists in the archiving process.
- We develop a system for mentoring new volunteers.
- Sydney Foster builds a guide to writing answers
- Some examples:

Zero as an Exponent

Planes and Lines

Circumference of a Circle, Value of 5!

Why do the angles of a triangle add to 180 degrees?

4th Grade Estimation Problems

Equations for Lines

Phase 3: Adding value to archive, planning for future

(April 1997 - present)

- Constructed the FAQ and Classic Problems web areas.
- Investigating ways to get experienced doctors mentoring other new doctors
- How to make effective use of our service - for teachers and students.
- Future directions: Dr. Ceek's
**Pages of Math** - Future directions: more intelligent screening of questions
- Some examples:

Order of operations

Negative times a negative

Square/cube roots without a calculator

Permutations and Combinations

Doubling Pennies