Open Menu Close Menu

Distance Learning, Mathematics and Quantitative Tools, and Technology Assessment

Mathematics and Quantitative Tools


ActivStats is a multimedia presentation that can be used to teach or supplement introductory statistics course materials. The software integrates video simulation, animation, and interactive experiments among other tools, to assist students with the visualization and application of concepts. Available in both student and professional versions, ActivStats also offers support materials for teachers wishing to add this program to their instructional resources. Contact: Data Description, Ithaca, NY; (800) 573-5121;

Data Desk 6.0

Data Desk 6.0 provides interactive tools for the examination of data and display based on the concepts and philosophy of Exploratory Data Analysis. The program includes tools for data exploration that simplify intuitive analysis without requiring users to have special statistics training. Additionally, users can run alternative analyses and linking capabilities to develop a better understanding of data patterns, relationships, and exceptions. Also available is Data Desk Plus, which combines Data Desk 6.0 with the ActivStats software. Contact: Data Description, Ithaca, NY; (800) 573-5121;

IDL Student Version

The IDL Student Version is an economical rendering of Interactive Data Language software that enables students to use it in highly technical curriculums. Built on IDL 5.0, the Student Version integrates a powerful and flexible structured programming language with math libraries, a broad range of statistical routines, and state of the art graphics. Some IDL features, such as IDL Save, IDL Insight, and the ability to integrate with external programs, are disabled. Supported operating systems include Windows (3.11, 95, and NT) and PowerMac. Contact: Research Systems, Boulder, CO; (888) 786-0530;

Interactive Mathematics

Interactive Mathematics offers a series of multimedia lessons in basic mathematics and pre-, elementary, intermediate, and college algebra. Encompassing 26 topics and 92 lessons, the curriculum provides teachers with graphics, animation, video, and real-time feedback to engage students and asses their individual needs. Students work at their own pace, and, if necessary, can utilize online help to receive instruction according to their individual learning style. The program can also be used for distance learning applications. Contact: Academic Systems, Mountain View, CA; (800) 236-4078;

Maple 6

Maple 6 offers a single computing environment for scientific and engineering users, with an integrated suite of symbolic and numerical solvers for projects of varying levels of complexity. Users can perform end-to-end technical computations that formerly required the assistance of several separate packages or libraries. This updated version features performance enhancements in the areas of signal and image processing, dynamic simulation, and mathematical modeling. Additional improvements can be found in the programming language, large-scale floating-point data handling, and user interface. Data can also be shared between Maple 6 and third-party productivity tools. Contact: Waterloo Maple, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; (800) 267-6583;

Mathcad 2001

The Mathcad 2001, Mathsoft's latest version of their technical calculation software, features improved memory management, a new high-performance calculation engine, and a picture component for image manipulation, among other benefits. Designed to serve as the centerpiece of an engineering desktop, the Mathcad 2001 is compatible with the Microsoft Office Suite, and readily interoperates with most of the common engineering tools, including Excel, Visio 2000, AutoCAD(r)2000 and MATLAB. Additionally, this release of Mathcad allows for real-time data acquisition from National Instruments analog I/O boards. Contact: Mathsoft, Inc., Cambridge, MA; 800-267-6583;

Mathematica 4.1

Mathematica 4.1, the latest version of Wolfram's Mathematica software, allows users to perform a single task, such as solving a differential equation, or an entire solution, prototype, or application. Presentation tools include structured outlines, buttons, palettes, hyperlinks, and calculations that remain fully active throughout the entire session. All notebooks are stored as plain text, so can be pasted into emails, or put on a web or FTP site without affecting their quality. In addition, Mathematica 4.1 automatically chooses the appropriate algorithms for the tasks given, but allows users to override this function with their own method. Contact: Wolfram Research, Champaign, IL; (213) 398-0700;

Mathematica Link for Excel

This Mathematica add-on provides an interface that enables communication between Microsoft Excel and the Mathematica software. Users can manipulate and visualize data with over a thousand more options, while sending large data sets from Excel to Mathematica for more sophisticated analysis. Additional features include built-in capabilities for a wide range of calculations, and an intuitive, high-level language that enables users to write their own functions. Contact: Wolfram Research, Champaign, IL; (213) 398-0700;

MathXpert Calculus Assistant

Designed to help first-year calculus students interpret concepts such as limits, differentiation, and integration, the MathXpert Calculus Assistant offers a self-paced learning environment with over 2,100 problems to solve. For each problem, MathXpert carries out a step, identifies that step in red, and records it to the right, repeating the process until the correct solution is achieved. To ensure student accuracy, every step that MathXpert allows in mathematically correct. Finally, a system of operation menus, automatic assistance, and written justification guides students through areas of difficulty. Contact: Recognix, Inc., Santa Clara; 800-361-1001;

MATLAB Student Version

Release 12 of the MATLAB Student Version, including MATLAB 6 and Simulink 4, integrates computation, graphics, and programming to offer an intuitive language for expressing problems and their solutions, both mathematically and visually. Applications include signal and image processing, control system design, financial engineering, and medical research. A flexible design combined with a variety of companion products enable users to explore data and create custom tools. This version will be available to students in early 2001 on the Windows and Linux platforms. Contact: MathWorks, Natick, MA; 508-647-7000;

Minitab 13

The newly updated MINITAB 13 software offers an integrated statistical and graphical analysis package. Features include the ability to store multiple worksheets and graphs, save graphs in various formats, and export graphics to other applications. This new version also offers a Project Manager that logically organizes MINITAB project components, the StatGuide for clear explanations on how to interpret tables and graphs, and the ReportPad to create professional looking reports. Also available is a student version accompanied by a companion text, which can be used in introductory statistics courses. Contact: Minitab, Inc., State College, PA; (800) 448-3555;

SPSS Graduate Pack 10.0

The SPSS Graduate Pack 10.0 for Windows is a full version of the SPSS software, a data analysis program designed to help explain events and determine why they occurred. Capabilities range from basic statistics, such as counts and crosstabs, to advanced procedures including factor, regression, cluster analysis, and binomial and multinomial logistic regression. Students can also receive documentation to help them understand what statistics mean and how different statistics relate to each other. Additionally, users can add modules for specialized techniques, such as correspondence and conjoint analysis. Contact: SPSS, Inc, Chicago, IL; (800) 543-2185;


SYSTAT 10.0, the latest statistical package from SPSS Inc., enables users to compare subgroups, overlay charts, and transform coordinates. Other new features include advanced chart types such as maps, multiplots, kernel densities, Voronoi tessellations, function plots, contours, and scatterplot matrices with 20 diagonal density options. The software still includes extensive graphing capabilities and statistical algorithms, an intuitive Windows interface, and a flexible command language. Contact: SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL; (800) 543-2185;

Testing and Assessment

CQuest Assessment Software

CQuest Assessment Software is both a test authoring and delivery tool. CQuest DB is used to create computerized testing, and is password protected. Questions can be imported from Microsoft Access and Excel as well as any word processing file. CQuest Test is used as an administration and delivery tool. It keeps records of student responses, scores, and the date and time. CQuest Echo provides a means of distributing tests to students who do not have access to your LAN or local PCs. Tests can even be delivered via the Web using CQuest Web Administrator. Contact: Cogent Computing Corporation; Las Cruces, NM; (888) 876-0044;


ParTEST for Windows allows users to create fully customized tests. Test instruments may be scored manually or used with scannable forms, and up to 26 versions of a test can be created. ParTEST also allows students to take tests online, and a security feature ensures students cannot access other applications or network files during the test session. ParSCORE offers instructors and trainers a combination of automatic test scoring, grade book flexibility, attendance tracking, and reporting and analysis options. Contact: Scantron; Tustin, CA; (800) 722-6876;

Question Mark Perception

Question Mark offers two versions of their assessment software, Perception for the Web and Perception for Windows. Perception for the Web is an authoring system that maintains question banks, an assessment definition system, and a reporting system that can run from a browser. With Perception for Windows, a Windows run-time program delivers the test questions, and a Windows reporting system allows you to see the results. Contact: Question Mark Software; Stamford, CT; (800) 863-3950;

Quia Quiz and Grading Tool

Quia provides a variety of educational services, including a directory of online games and quizzes in more than 40 subject areas, templates for creating online games, tools for creating online quizzes, and quiz administration and reporting tools. Quia's editors continually update the directory with new games and new categories. The Quiz Editor template allows users to create quizzes using multiple choice, true-false, pop-up, fill-in, multiple correct, and/or short answer questions. Images can be embedded into the quiz layout, and users can also choose to present quiz questions all at once or one at a time. Quiz administration, reporting, and grading tools. Quizzes can be administered online using Quia's Quiz Session. Student names and scores are recorded, and the instructor can analyze and print the results using the available reporting tools. Contact: Quia Corporation; Burlingame, CA; (650) 259-4200;

Distance Learning

Avilar Technologies

Avilar's software, WebMentor, allows for ease of authoring, administration, and delivery for Web-based courses over the Internet, intranets, and extranets. The Web-based authoring system supports course authoring, editing and testing, metadata descriptions, and interfaces to html and graphics editing. Course delivery is via a standard Web browser, and there are eight choices of assessment question types. Students can register as well as have access to administration. Contact: Avilar Technologies; Laurel, MD; (888) 873-7014;

Blackboard 5

Blackboard 5 is a software platform that allows for a course management system, customizable institution-wide portals, online campus communities, and integration of multiple administrative systems. It can be licensed at three levels. Level One provides basic course management tools such as discussion boards, posting course material, chat rooms, and online assessment. Level Two provides course management as well as customizable institution-wide portals for faculty, students, and alumni, facilitating online communities, Web-based e-mail, calendar, announcements, and tasks. Level Three offers a more advanced package that includes Java-based APIs for unifying online campus systems into one platform. Contact: Blackboard; Washington, D.C.; (202) 463-4860;

Campus Pipeline

Campus Pipeline provides institutions with an Intranet infrastructure and a full suite of application tools. These include e-mail, targeted messaging, discussion threads and chat rooms, study and information tools, and a career center. The Web platform is accessible using a standard Internet browser, and once users log in they have access to any campus information that they might need. Contact: Campus Pipeline; Salt Lake City, UT; (888) 682-PIPE; is a site that aids in the process of deciding what to study in a Canadian or American college or university. Users have access to more than 50,000 US and Canadian university and college program department sites covering more than 300 fields of study. The site includes job listings by career as well as an A-to-Z index of programs. The site also contains information on test preparation and preparation books. Contact:; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; (514) 489-9993;

Convene ac@deme's learning platform, ac@deme, provides a customizable online campus. An integrated suite of online teaching tools, ac@deme has no templates or strict formats- users choose a format, components, and tools for online course registration, online testing, and classroom conferencing. Contact: Convene; San Francisco, CA; (415) 782-0500;


CyberU offers more than 17,000 online courses. Users can search and register for courses, explore free classes, broadband classes, and educational resources. This site has a campus store and a career planning center, as well as a cyber community where users can participate in forums and volunteer. Contact: CyberU; Santa Monica, CA; (310) 581-2005;

CampusPortal 4.0 is's enterprise-wide solution for bringing campus services and community access online.'s product provides students self-service, asynchronous learning, both on and off campus. CampusPortal 4.0 allows users to develop and deliver a campus Intranet in about 45-90 days; offer personalized home pages for everyone in the community; provide online access to campus services, courses, and productivity tools; track users and site usage statistics; and generate automated reports and analysis. Contact:; Denver, CO; (888) 884-7325; helps institutions build, deploy, and maintain Web-enhanced and Web-based courses. All development tools and courses are available via a Web browser, eliminating the need for special software. offers two levels of service: Core, which includes tools, hosting, training, and help desk access; and a Life-Cycle program, which provides planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of online programs. Contact:, Morrisville, NC; (877) 338-7747;

e-Education's e-Education is a provider of all aspects of online education. In addition to its online course management software, the product line replicates services provided throughout a college or university's traditional campus and markets online education programs regionally, nationally, and internationally. A suite of software tools enables faculty to create, edit, and manage online courses. Also available are an online course catalog and online electronic library. Contact:; Englewood, CO; (800) 701-6463;

Globewide Network Academy

Globewide Network Academy is a non-profit organization that hosts free Web sites for non-profit educational organizations. They also have nearly 25,000 courses in 3000 different programs. One channel enables distance educators to find links to resources in their area of interest. Distance learning students also have a channel through which they can find helpful links to resources. Contact: Globewide Network Academy; Austin, TX;

HorizonLive 2.0

The HorizonLive 2.0 system for live online learning includes integrated chat, instant polling, a whiteboard for both instructor and student use, application screening, and a One-Click Archive that records live sessions for on-demand review. Horizon Live is accessible on any standard Web browser and runs on Mac, UNIX, or Windows platforms. Contact: HorizonLive; New York, NY; (212) 533-1775;


JenzaEducator from, is an online course development and publishing tool featuring personal calendars for instructors and students; personalized and centralized instructor home pages; student profile software to track names, faces, e-mail addresses and phone numbers; instant messaging, chat rooms and forums; syllabus-posting; and easy expansion. Instructors can handle multiple courses at multiple schools under one personalized, password-protected account. Contact: Jenzabar; Cambridge, MA; (617) 492-9099;


The PeopleSoft Portal for Higher Education provides the framework to create a virtual campus tailored to the individual requirements of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Users log in and are presented with information tailored to their needs-faculty members receive information that pertains to them, students receive information that they alone need, and so on. Students can find information regarding financial aid and campus events, among many other things, and faculty will find classroom analytical data at their fingertips. Contact: PeopleSoft; Pleasanton, CA; (800) 380-SOFT;


Vcampus consists of over 1,100 Web-based courses as well as a Web-based registration, tracking, and reporting system to facilitate the delivery and administration of online learning. Courses cover compliance, information technology, vocational technology, management, office skills, personal development, health care, and telecommunications. The product offers a customizable learning environment; enrollment, registration, and payment functions; several built-in reporting functions; and progress tracking by means of its Gradebook, Transcript, and Training Plan software. Contact: UOL Publishing; McLean, VA; (800) 915-9298;

Vista Compass

Vista Compass is a Web-based portal that provides a single point of access to student services, courses, and collaboration. It supports both campus and distance learning and reduces administrative costs. Vista Compass allows schools to select the features they need from a variety of modules available such as Alumni, Applicant, Distance Learning, E-mail, Faculty/Staff, Group Space, Marketplace, Chat, and Publish to Web. Users can access live administrative information such as registration, transcript, and billing information. Contact: Vista; Redmond, WA; (877) 497-9909;


WebCT is an integrated set of course tools that faculty can use to design, develop, and manage Web-based and Web-enhanced courses. It provides features for customizing publisher materials and partnerships with systems integration firms that make WebCT an enterprise-wide solution. Version 2.1 handles more than 3 million users. Contact: WebCT; Peabody, MA; (978) 538-0036;

comments powered by Disqus