Since 2001, publishing giant Pearson has offered MyMathLab as an electronic – and now Web-based, of course – complement to its many math textbooks. Because the program is modular, teachers can choose to use some or all of the electronic content, as a primary way to deliver instruction to students or as a supplement to their own instruction. Teachers or professors can select from the program’s bank of free-response exercises, edit them, or add their own questions, and have students complete them a lab setting as classwork or quizzes, or outside of class as homework.
Through a partnership inked in early 2012 with Knewton -- originally a test prep company that’s developing an “adaptive learning engine” -- MyMathLab recommends to students what math exercises they should tackle, based on the content they’ve already mastered and the level of difficulty and style that seems to fit them best. MyMathLab also contains an e-book version of the student’s textbook, video lectures, and animations, and gives students 24/7 access to Pearson tutors online. Only one 30-minute tutoring session is included with the student license; additional tutoring time costs about $18/hour. While some students feel that the immediate feedback MyMathLab has been useful, the video lectures have received mixed reviews (though it’s unclear whether that’s due to their quality or the students’ overall preference for in-person interaction) and at least one professor has described the system as somewhat “cumbersome” to use.
MyMathLab is built on MathXL, another Pearson product that acts as a homework, tutorial and assessment system. (MathXL can be purchased separately as a cheaper alternative for teachers and schools that don’t need the instructional component, just the ability for students to complete homework, quizzes, and tests.) Its online gradebook feature is handy for teachers who want to build the majority of their course around the Pearson content.
While Pearson doesn’t say how many users have bought access to just MyMathLab, it does say that more than 9 million students at over 1,900 colleges and universities have used some combination of MyMathLab, MyStatLab and MathXL.
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