Benefits of Computer Assistive Software and Minimum Requirements
Russell Jay Hendel
Use of computer assisted software (CAS), typically combined with a problem-solving pedagogy, is common in 1) mathematics, 2) STEM, 3) writing, 4) certification exam preparation, and 5) business training. Since there are many competing CAS products, a user must know I) what benefits to expect from good CAS, and II) what the minimum requirements are. I) The benefits of good CAS are I-A) increased student mastery due to increased practice leading to self-efficacy, I-B) heightened awareness of objectivity, encouraging a perception that achievement is based on effort and work, thus increasing inclusion and diversity, and I-C) increased outreach to weaker students who benefit from graduated levels of problem difficulty afforded by the CAS . II) The requirements for a good CAS are II-A) a large database of problems, II-B) a classification of problems using the two-four dozen topics corresponding to the daily topics in a 15-week course syllabus, taught two to three days a week, and II-C) at least 3 levels of graduated difficulty (easy, moderate, advanced) of practice problems for each topic. Note especially that minimally the software is exclusively used for storage implying that these ideas can be implemented manually without using any computer. Simple implementation methods for creating such software are presented for both mathematics and writing courses (both education and business oriented). The assurance that the minimum requirements enumerated lead to the benefits listed is provided by the four educational pillars of Hendel.