[MOSAIC-news] July 15 Project MOSAIC M-CAST: Using Webwork for activities and homework assignments

Nicholas Horton nhorton at smith.edu
Thu Jul 7 09:55:18 CDT 2011

Be sure to join us on Friday, July 15th for a Project MOSAIC M-CAST at
11:00am EDT (10:00am CDT, 8:00am PDT) entitled " Using Webwork for
activities and homework assignments" led by Joe Mahaffy of San Diego State

Webwork is a system support by the Mathematical Association of America that
allows instructors to post on-line activities and homework assignments for
their students that can be automatically graded, and parameters can be set
to allow retries.  There is a very large collection of existing problems,
and instructors can write new problems in a language that closely resembles
Latex with some PERL inserts.  It's easy to learn by drawing on the already
published problems.  The webinar will introduce some examples of Webwork
problems, and show how to get started writing your own.  Indications are
that using Webwork substantially increases students' engagement and
participation in their mathematics courses.

There are other M-CASTS organized by the MOSAIC Project
(www.mosaic-web.org) on a variety of interesting topics. In particular, on
July 29, 2011, Christophe Gole from Smith College will be discussing "a New
academic program in Biomathematical Sciences" at 1:00pm EDT (noon CDT,
10:00am PDT). We encourage you to join in on the conversation and discussion
for any or all of them.

Tuning in to an M-CAST: Instructions

M-CASTS are broadcast using the ReadyTalk computer conferencing system.

1. Direct your browser to the ReadyTalk web server
<http://www.readytalk.com/>  and enter access code 2923887. This provides
the video component of the M-CAST.

2. For audio, telephone 866-740-1260 <tel:866-740-1260>  and at the voice
prompt, enter the same access code: 2923887.  You must dial in for the

The audio is two-way: a conference call that supports the seminar style of
the event.

What's an M-CAST?

M-Casts are 20-minute seminars broadcast over the Internet on the 2nd, 4th,
and 5th Friday of each month.  They are part of Project MOSAIC
<http://www.causeweb.org/wiki/mosaic/index.php/Main_Page>, an NSF-sponsored
project to improve undergraduate STEM education by better integrating
Modeling, Statistics, Computation, and Calculus.  M-Casts are designed to
provide a quick and easy way for educators to share ideas, get reactions
from others, and form collaborations.

M-Casts are recorded and posted on the Internet soon after the event.

This document is part of an interactive MOSAIC Wiki
<http://www.causeweb.org/wiki/mosaic/index.php/Main_Page>, which provides a
forum for sharing additional ideas and materials, for discussion, and for
reports of experiences using the ideas presented in the M-Cast.  Access to
most of the Wiki requires a login account, available to educators by
request. Contact Danny Kaplan
<http://www.causeweb.org/wiki/mosaic/index.php/User:Kaplan> for an account
or more information.

If you have a MOSAIC login, click on the title of any M-CAST to access the
Wiki pages for materials, discussion, etc.

What's Project MOSAIC?

Project MOSAIC (www.mosaic-web.org) is a community of educators working to
develop a new way to introduce mathematics, statistics, computation and
modeling to students in colleges and universities.

Our goal: Provide a broader approach to quantitative studies that provides
better support for work in science and technology.  The focus of the project
is to tie together better diverse aspects of quantitative work that students
in science, technology, and engineering will need in their professional
lives, but which are today usually taught in isolation, if at all.
* Modeling. The ability to create, manipulate and investigate  useful and
informative mathematical representations of a real-world situations.
* Statistics. The analysis of variability that draws on our ability to
quantify uncertainty and to draw logical inferences from observations and
* Computation.  The capacity to  think algorithmically, to manage data on
large scales, to visualize and interact with models, and to automate tasks
for  efficiency, accuracy, and reproducibility.
* Calculus. The traditional mathematical entry point for college and
university students and a subject that still has the potential to provide
important insights to today's students.
The name MOSAIC reflects the first letters --- M, S, C, C --- of these
important components of a quantitative education. Project MOSAIC is
motivated by a vision of quantitative education as a mosaic where the basic
materials come together to form a complete and compelling picture.
Nicholas Horton 
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Smith College
Clark Science Center, Northampton, MA 01063-0001

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