Electronic Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics



CONTRIBUTED PAPER: 11-C8

Interactive Mathematics on the Web -- The Easy Way

Carl R. Spitznagel
Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
John Carroll University
Cleveland, OH 44118
Phone: (216) 397-4351
E-mail: spitz@jcu.edu

ABSTRACT

MathView, a product of Waterloo Maple Inc., is a computer algebra system that is designed to foster interactive exploration of mathematics. Unlike other computer algebra systems that are designed to produce static answers and results, MathView is designed with an interface in which the mathematics--both symbolic and graphic--is interactive: a change to a "proposition" in a MathView worksheet produces a cascade of instantaneous changes to the "conclusions" that are tied to that proposition. This structure helps to create an environment that encourages experimentation and observation.

Moreover, an interactive environment created in a MathView worksheet can be easily embedded in an HTML document and placed on the web. And even though MathView is relatively inexpensive, viewing a web page with an embedded MathView worksheet does not even require the MathView system! Instead, a plugin that can be obtained for free from Waterloo Maple is all that is needed (in addition to a web browser, of course).

This combination of features makes it not only simple, but also highly cost- effective, to create and deliver interactive web-based mathematics. This paper will show examples of interactive web pages designed to lead students to discover some of the standard theorems of calculus, and will demonstrate the creation of an interactive web page--using tools no more sophisticated than Netscape and MathView.