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What College Instructor

Langara College
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Next year: Precalculus online

Who Alan Cooper
How I have used Derive in class-based calculus labs and my own applets in some on-line labs both for in-class and on-line students.

I have been teaching math (from senior secondary to second year university level) at Langara College for the past 20 years or so. In the early 90's one of my colleagues developed a lab-based calculus course using Derive - and I have had the opportunity to teach this both on HP palmtops and later on fixed workstations. In 1996 I started a departmental website where one of the components was a collection of potentially useful links organized by topic. (This was converted to a database starting last summer, but much of what I was aiming for in that project for has now perhaps been superceded by the MathTools site.)

In 1998 I took some time to start learning Java and developed a graphing applet as my practice project (the features that I think were original at that time were the smoothly animated zoom and pan and the recognition of arbitrary parameter names by the input parsing engine). This applet was used as the primary tool in some web-based labs that I developed the following year, and in 2000-01 I broke the code down into a more "component-oriented" design and have used the components as building blocks for other applets. I am interested in exploring the use of varied methods of user input because I believe that kinesthetic experience can be an important contribution to mathematical understanding, and in how to author materials in which the instructions are clear enough without being so explicit that the student does not have to struggle with the ideas.


© 2003-2006 The Math Forum @ Drexel, part of NSF's NSDL
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DUE-0226284.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s)
and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.