Here are the answers to a few questions some of you have posted about
the Interactive Mathematics package published by Academic Systems.

1.  Have we done course evaluations?

    We have not yet done any, though it is being considered.  The faculty
who have used the package have wanted to get the "bugs" out of the method
before doing a summative evaluation.  So far, as I mentioned previously,
the main concerns were selecting students who were comfortable with the
computerized format, keeping the pace of the class moving, and finding
the right balance of lecture vs. individual vs. collaborative learning.
They are still experimenting with these.

2.  What class size have we used?

    We have aimed for a limit of 20 but have sometimes gone up to 24.

3.  To what extent was collaborative learning possible?

    Any amount is possible depending on the inclinations of the instructor.
The instructor I spoke to said some collaborative learning is necessary,
as students need individual help and he could not get around to everybody.
He has paired students needing more help with students who have caught on
more quickly.  Another instructor set up a group table in the computer lab
for students to move in and out of when they encounter difficulties with
the computer work; when they have a question, they go to the table and
end up working together.

4.  What types of hardware are available?

    Our college uses the software for the Mac.  Windows 3.1 and 95 versions
are available.  Academic Systems is not producing new versions for use
with the Mac at present because Apple has been having financial difficulties.

5.  What kinds of students work best with the program?

    The computerized course seems to work best with students who are
repeating the course or reviewing, as opposed to those who are in effect
learning algebra for the first time.  The former may not need to hear
the usual lectures all over again and may prefer the flexibility of the
software where they can focus on the topics they need to work on most.
Younger, as opposed to older returning students, may be more comfortable
with computers.  Not surprisingly, the format does not work well with
students who are computer-phobic, which is why our department is thinking
about ways to inform students of the section formats before they register.

6.  Can names of contact people be made available via e-mail?

    Academic Systems has set up a "Roundtable" on the internet where
people can pose questions and engage in discussion about use of the
programs with other users.  When I am able to get the address for this
service I will post it to the listserv.

Annette Gourgey
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