# Using the Mathematics Portal

The Mathematics Department has recently created a web portal for undergraduate classes. Students in Math 171, 172, 273, and 220 may, and should, use this portal in those courses. All mathematics students have access to the portal. The portal constitutes a web site with links to pages that provide Maple and Matlab software, introductory worksheets, text conversion, and some interactive 3d tools.

**- Student Access - **

All students enrolled in Math classes may gain access to the portal by pointing their browsers at http://my.math.wsu.edu. The introductory page requires the students to type in their WSU NetID credentials. After they are authenticated, students are directed to an index page. This page may contain information specific to their math classes, if instructors have provided such. Students can click a menu near the top of the page labeled "Software" if they wish to use Matlab or Maple. There is also a tab labeled "Calendar", where students may see important dates for their courses indicated, if the instructor has provided that information. To log out, students should just quit their browsers or can click the "Log Out" link at upper right.

Students can save one Matlab or Maple session by clicking the save button on the corresponding pages. Any time a software session is saved, it replaces any previous saves.

**- Instructor Access - **

Instructors should see systems personnel to acquire accounts on the portal. Once those accounts exist, instructors log in using their account ID and password (instead of student ID). They can then click a link on the Calendar page to set calendar entries for the courses they teach, and can click a link on the notes page to set introductory notes for their classes. Use of these features is fairly intuitive.

** - The Lab - **

What do students do in the Newton Lab? The assumption is that instructors will assign computational problems from the texts, which already rely on software, as part of the regular homework assignments. Lab TAs will discuss homework and examples, including the computer problems. They should emphasize ways to use Maple in routine work - there is no reason why students would be doing lengthy error-prone computations these days. There are so-called cheat sheets available, linked from the menu or from the front page. These show examples of how Maple might be used to solve any problem from the book, so that students can get hints or check answers.

Students who want to use the computers in the lab may log in with a specific account and password that can be obtained from systems personnel. It will not be necessary to work through assignments that are exclusively computational. Instead, students should do enough computational problems that they gain a rough familiarity with the tools available to them for solving more realistic problems.