I teach some mathematics subjects to students studying a computer science course. Most of these students dislike maths (I'm Australian, hence "maths" instead of "math"), and are doing it only because it's a core subject in their first year. I should also point out that many of my students have a very weak maths background, and so find the maths that I teach (which over a year covers logic and boolean algebra, some combinatorics, and linear algebra and calculus) very difficult and demanding, and often simply dull.
I've been using Maple for about four or five years now; each week the students work through a sheet of Maple exercises (which are all marked) designed to enhance their learning. But here's the thing - the students actually don't like Maple! They would much rather spend that hour having a standard tutorial, working through pencil-and-paper problems, than in a computer lab with Maple. So I need to change my approach; to somehow make Maple more central, more enjoyable, and more "enhancing" than I've been doing up to now.
A colleague has been frustrated by the apparent limitations to Maple's abilities to "solve" inequalities. This does appear to be something that should - and could - be improved with a little effort.
The typical problem under consideration is the epsilon-delta definition of limit. Ideally, it would be nice to execute a command such as
> solve( abs( f-L ) < epsilon, x );
and receive an answer in terms of intervals.
Does anyone have advice for content in a maple tutorial for calculus students and any math students for that matter? I am doing a tutorial to help students avoid the fear of Maple and try to help them to avoid common mistakes. Any suggestions would be great!
I suppose I'll jump in to the world of the blog with a question: What do you consider to be a solid and accessible introductory textbook to calculus?
By Solid I mean: No gaps in coverage that leave the reader at a disadvantage because of unclear text and examples or outright missed topics.
By Accessible I mean: Written so the average student can expect to understand the concepts directly or with a small amount of help outside the classroom.