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**MathsIsFun****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-01-21
- Posts: 7,684

I have this idea of a "repository" of worked exercises that could be used for revision, worksheets and tests.

Each exercise would have 4 possible answers (one of which is right) and a worked solution.

Also each exercise would be classified by "skills".

This way someone could ask for a test of, say, imaginary numbers, and they would get 10 questions with multi-choice answers. After completing the test they would get a score, and could then explore the worked solutions to see where they went wrong, or to improve their abilities. Great for exam prep, too.

I have been playing with the beta version of FluxBB (the software we will upgrade the forum to one day), and I think I can make an "extension" of it so we can create these exercises on the forum, using the "math" tags etc as we are used to doing. But the actual tests would be best done as part of mathsisfun.com/worksheets where I can develop to my hearts content without worrying about wrecking the forum software.

Now, we would need at least 1,000 exercises to make it a worthwhile repository (and not 100s on one topic, but well spread out). And they would have to be high-quality (ie well designed, and with a correct answer!)

What do you think of this idea? Got any good suggestions?

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..." - Leon M. Lederman

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**ganesh****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-06-28
- Posts: 24,318

This is an excellent thought! It would help the students a lot. An exercise of ten questions of objective type is ideal.

Would it be okay if the exercises are posted in 'Exercises' section of the forum? When and where would the answers be posted? The next, and the most important question in my mind is whether the Exercises would have to be graded as Beginners, Middle level, Advanced etc. or according to age groups by the members posting the exercises? A repository of about 1000 exercises can be achieved within a period of 6 months to 1 year with regular contributions, depending on the frequency of posts.

Suggestions:-

1) A team of about 25 volunteers from members has to be formed to accomplish this mission. This is just a thought!

2) The contribution from any of the members has to be checked by another for accuracy and relevancy to the topic. Only then should the exercise be cosidered for inclusion in the Question bank.

3) The limit of number of exercises in each topic should be decided beforehand. Otherwise, there may arise a situation where there are too many exercises on one topic and too few on another.

4) If the exercises are to be posted in the forum, they should be distinguished from the regular posts. One way of doing this is prefixing the title R. (R for Repository)

Together we can do it! Lets take the plunge!

It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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**MathsIsFun****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-01-21
- Posts: 7,684

Thanks Ganesh. Yes, I have had requests for tests and worked solutions, from both the Student and Teacher point of view.

We could post them in Exercises, but one Exercise per post, so it may be better to have a "Worked Exercises" section. But then we don't want to give away the solution until the student has attempted their answer ... needs thought.

1) 25 volunteers would be excellent, but unlikely. I have thought to actually *PAY* for good quality exercises. The ads would gradually earn the money back.

2) Yes, a "Checked By" from a trusted member is a good idea.

3) I could keep track of how many exercises each skill already has. Perhaps a limit of 20 or 30.

4) Easy to keep them separate if we give them their own section.

On reflection, it would be natural for the forum to only show the question ... the solution would be hidden to most people. Then the only way to get a solution is to attempt the question through the "test" program I am yet to develop. Just a thought.

And we could only begin to add questions when we upgrade the forum to the new version (which is currently in "Beta 3", expected to be in "Release Candidate 1" in a few weeks) ... I have been working hard the last few days developing the code to handle the extra data.

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..." - Leon M. Lederman

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**Maracuya****Member**- Registered: 2008-02-02
- Posts: 12

I'd be happy to contribute some exercises, but am too new to math to be a "checker".

Can I post problems I've seen online, or from texts I've used? If so, should I give credit to the author/s?

If you want only original problems, I'd enjoy writing some.

Is this project going forward? What has been done, and what needs to be done?

As a footnote, I've just started working through Spivak's Calculus. Some of the problems are so good that I've been tempted to post them for other members to enjoy and discuss.

In general, I'm wondering how much material from a single book can be posted, without being illegal/ unethical.

Mara

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**MathsIsFun****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-01-21
- Posts: 7,684

The project is definitely going ahead, and all contributions would be gratefully accepted.

It is taking a little while getting the software together, but it is hopefully just a few weeks off.

I would prefer the repository to have all original works, but I think you can discuss problems on the forum (something about education, fair use or something, but I am not a lawyer.)

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..." - Leon M. Lederman

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**Daniel123****Member**- Registered: 2007-05-23
- Posts: 663

Great idea. I'd be happy to contribute exercises and check those solutions which I can.

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**MathsIsFun****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-01-21
- Posts: 7,684

Thanks!

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**MathsIsFun****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-01-21
- Posts: 7,684

In regards to "fair use" ... this is the US Law on it (my bolding):

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as

criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

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**simron****Real Member**- Registered: 2006-10-07
- Posts: 237

I'd be happy to check exercises (although my computation is not that great) up to Algebra II, basic trigonometry, and basic calculus.

Linux FTW

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**MathsIsFun****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-01-21
- Posts: 7,684

Great, simron! I will count you in.

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**simron****Real Member**- Registered: 2006-10-07
- Posts: 237

The only problem is if there's a minimum age people need to be to check exercises. Then I don't think I'd have much of a chance of getting in.

*Last edited by simron (2008-06-19 05:23:28)*

Linux FTW

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**MathsIsFun****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-01-21
- Posts: 7,684

Update: I have developed the software for **entering** the exercises, but it needs version 1.3 of the forum

The latest version is "1.3 beta 2", which means they feel it is not quite ready for release, so I am stuck until they release a stable version of the forum software (see here: http://fluxbb.org/ )

The other option would be to grit our teeth and upgrade ... but we may risk forum problems. Currently the forum is fast, stable and reliable, which is really nice, but it is also stuck in terms of development.

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**ganesh****Administrator**- Registered: 2005-06-28
- Posts: 24,318

If I were to express my opinion, 'Wait and Watch' would be a good option.

The forum has had a smooth sail for close to four years, but for one isolated incident of a trouble-maker. If in the name of development, there are fundamental changes, that may be too much for the members, particularly the senior ones, to digest.

Being the Admin, decision-making solely rests with you although you can always rely upon a 'referendum'.

It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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