Last month I was featured in the “User’s Corner” of the Spring 2008 AMSER Newsletter, which can be found here.
Here are a few excerpts:
Everywhere I turn on the math-net, I find text-oriented mathematical reading material; I consider these sites to be texts, lessons, or reviews, although they are often called “tutorials.” That doesn’t seem quite right. To me, a tutorial has to be interactive. A student does not hire a textbook when they need help. They hire a tutor because they hope the interaction will improve their learning. It is always with great skepticism that I go to a website claiming to have “tutorials.”
The modern-day Internet can do so much more, so I went looking on AMSER for materials that provide an interactive or visual experience – the materials that are truly leveraging the power of the 2nd generation Internet.
Mathematics demos and sites are being added to the Internet so quickly that instructors are going to have to rely on organizations like AMSER, Merlot, and MathDL to act as a clearinghouse and editorial board for new net-based resources. However, we will also have to participate in the social aspect of rating resources for their quality as a reference, applicability to teaching, and usability by students. We will need to help these repositories label material (wiki-style) with more detail to make it easier to find.
We can also participate by identifying gaps in resources that need to be filled. The only way we will collectively cope with the growing collection of demos and websites for math is if we all participate in the critique and categorization of these materials.