A Comparison of Authoring Software for Developing Mathematics Self-Learning Software Packages

Che-yin Suen
Mathematics, Science and Computing Centre
Ngee Ann Polytechnic

Yang-ming Pok
Mathematics, Science and Computing Centre
Ngee Ann Polytechnic


Four years ago, the authors started to develop a self-paced mathematics learning software called NPMaths by using a authoring package called Tencore. However, NPMaths had some weak points. A development team was hence formed to develop similar software called Mathematics On Line. This time the team used another developing language called Scientific Notebook. In early 1998, the authors developed some question items using Maple as Maple includes the strong points of both Tencore and Scientific Notebook. Unfortunately, all the software mentioned above requires the downloading of the package into the local machine. All these packages (Tencore, Scientific Notebook and Maple) do not have a convenient plug-in version. The team recently developed similar software using Java. The first batch of question items has already uploaded to the intranet and has been used by more than 1000 students. The management is not happy with the Java development because the downloading is too slow especially when many students are using the package at the same time. Currently the team is studying the possibility of using ActiveX to develop a learning package in which the downloading time is expected to be one-tenth of the Java one.

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