Maple TA As A Teaching Tool In ITT Dublin

Noel Gorman

Institute of Technology Tallaght

Maple TA is a web-based package for learning, testing and assessment which has been used recently as a teaching tool for first year Business students at ITT Dublin. Maple TA allows instructors to create their own content for exercises and tests, which students take for practice and credit. The package is particularly suited to mathematical subject areas since it is built on the Maple symbolic manipulation engine. Furthermore, the software includes random generation features, which produce different versions of the same basic question template. In this paper we describe the SIF-funded pilot project which introduced Maple TA to the college and its ongoing use as a teaching/testing tool. The central aim of the project was to encourage active learning and engagement with the course material of the first semester mathematics module by adopting a different approach to the more traditional, paper-based course delivery. A synopsis of the results and feedback obtained on completion of the project are included. The main features of Maple TA are surveyed, demonstrating the flexibility and potential of the package as a teaching and assessment tool. The strengths and weaknesses observed in implementing and using the package are also discussed.

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