Software/Calculators/Other Technology

Blackboard

Blackboard Login ImageEvery student at ACC has a Blackboard account. If you have not used Blackboard before you will need to have an ACCeID and password in order to log in. Follow this link to activate your ACCeID if you have not already done so.

Logging on to Blackboard:

1. Go to the Blackboard login page and log in using your ACCeID and password.

2. Immediately go to the "Personal Information" in the left menu and follow the link to "Set Privacy Options." You can then choose whether to make your email and other information public or not. (Note that your email address may still be available to other members of the class when you post on the discussion boards, regardless of what you choose here.) Always be sure to click on "Submit" after you have made your changes. (You do not have to do this every time you log in.) Please note that while on the "Personal Information" web page, you may also change your name, address, Social Security Number, and/or major, by viewing and printing the Student Data Change form, which you will then have to submit to any ACC Admissions & Records Office.

3. If you are registered for this course already, the course should be listed under "My Courses" on the main page when you first log into Blackboard (or click on the "Courses" tab at the top of the page).

4. Click on the "My ACC" tab at the top of the page and then check "My Announcements" for any course-related announcements.

5. Always click on "Logout" near the top center of the page when you are finished, especially on a public computer.

6. If you have never used Blackboard before, it may help to read through the "How to Log into Blackboard" page.

Getting Help with Blackboard:

The best place to start when looking for help with Blackboard is at the Blackboard login page. There is a link to Student Support on the left side of the page, which will hopefully work again soon. There is also a Blackboard Support tab at the top left side of the page, which should have helpful information if you click on that. Usually, the Help button at the top of the Blackboard login page and within Blackboard will also take you to helpful information, but it currently takes you to the Faculty Support page. You may also contact the ACC Helpdesk at (512) 223-4357 for Blackboard support issues. If you have tried this and still cannot figure something out, contact your instructor.

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MyMathLab

MyMathLab is an interactive website where you can:

1. Self-test & work through practice exercises with step-by-step help to improve your math skills.

2. Study more efficiently with a personalized study plan and exercises that match your book.

3. Get help when YOU need it. MyMathLab includes multimedia learning aids, videos, animations, and live tutorial help.

Before You Begin:

To register for MyMathLab, you need:

1. A MyMathLab student access code (packaged with your new text, standalone at your bookstore, or available for purchase with a major credit card at www.pearsonmylab.com)

2. Your instructor’s Course ID. Every instructor's course has its own individual course ID so be sure that you have the correct course ID before trying to register in MML.

3. A valid email address. It is recommended that you use your ACCmail for you MML registration. Your instructor will send emails to your ACCmail so you wouldn't want to miss any of them.

These two videos should help answer any questions you have about MML. The first is an introduction to MML and some of its features and the second shows you how to go through the registration process.

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LaunchPad

To access the LaunchPad site for your particular section you will need the course code. This may be found in your syllabus. LaunchPad is a web portal with many resources to support students' learning including video and "print" manuals for both Minitab and CrunchIt, lots of videos, applets, a Study Guide, and the Crunch-It statistical software.

Purchase LaunchPad to accompany the text – Do not purchase a textbook which does not include the LaunchPad access code. In fact, a paper copy of the textbook is optional since you can purchase the LaunchPad access code without the book. LaunchPad includes an eBook. If you wish to purchase a paper copy of the textbook, it is The Basic Practice of Statistics, 7th ed., by David S. Moore, William I. Notz, and Michael A. Fligner

Minitab

Students in MATH 1342 are required to use Minitab but are NOT required to purchase it. Minitab is available on all computers in the learning labs and computer centers to use for free. (You will need your ACC ID.) Videos and tutorials to help you use Minitab are provided in LaunchPad and are designed to go with each individual chapter. There are also several video tutorials made by the Minitab company available on YouTube. Watch this video to see Minitab 17 software at work.

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Calculators

There are links at the bottom of this page to some manufacturer websites. If you find a calculator that works well for you from a manufacturer not listed below, please let me know so that I may add it.

Four-Function Calculators

A four-function calculator is one with +, -, /, *, %, and square root but no other functions. four-function calculatorfour-function calculator four-function calculator

Scientific Calculators

A scientific calculator is one that does more than just the basic four arithmetic functions. In particular, it must do exponential and logarithmic functions. Students who plan to take technical math, trigonometry, or scientific calculus should have a scientific calculator, with trig functions. Students who plan to take statistics will find that a calculator that does two-variable statistics is useful. About half of the scientific calculators on the market will do this, and they don't particularly cost more than the others.

Graphing Calculators

What kind of graphing calculator should you buy if you want to buy one?

Unfortunately it just isn't possible for ACC to provide and learn about all the types of calculators. Our instructors know how to help you with most of the Texas Instruments calculators. There are several different versions of the TI-83 and TI-84 and our instructors can help you learn to do the required things on any of these. Some instructors can help with other models, such as the TI-86 or the older TI-85 or TI-82. Some, but not all, of the instructors are able to help with the TI-89 family of calculators and/or the CAS functionality of the TI-Nspire.

As far as working in our ACC classes, any of the various TI-83 or TI-84 options will be acceptable. Most ACC instructors will not allow you to use calculators which will do symbolic manipulation, like TI-89s, on tests even if they will allow graphing calculators, such as TI-83s or TI-84s. The TI-Nspire has two different keyboards which allow it to be used as essentially a TI-84 Plus or as a TI-89 Titanium and is unlikely to be allowed on exams as well.

Note that even if your instructor allows the TI-Inspire to be used in your class, the ACC testing centers do not allow the TI-Inspire to be used.

Other General Calculator Information

Other companies, such as Casio and Sharp, have calculators with similar capabilities to those previously mentioned. If you use one of these, our instructors won't be able to help you very much because most of them use TI calculators. However, many ACC mathematics students have used these and been successful.

Hewlett-Packard calculators are highly respected and are widely used by engineers. In the calculator world, HP is most notable for having pioneered the use of Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) in calculators. These worked differently from other calculators and were confusing to most students. These days, the RPN calculators are mostly in the more-expensive range of calculators. You should not be using one of these RPN calculators unless you have already learned to use it well. Do not expect any ACC instructors to be able to help you with it, as we do not provide any such calculators for the instructors to use.

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Mathematica

Mathematica is what is known as a "symbolic algebra" (or symbolic math) program. This means that it can work with math symbolically, not just solve for a numerical answer. It can find exact solutions to equations (even solve for one variable in terms of other variables), solve systems of equations, find the derivative or integral of a function in symbolic form (calculus), and solve differential equations symbolically (differential equations). It can also be used to plot many different types of graphs (2 dimensional, 3 dimensional, parametric, polar coordinates, spherical coordinates, cylindrical coordinates, vector fields)

Mathematica is a very powerful program that is used by many professionals in the "real world" (wherever that might be). Because it does so much, however, it does take a little more effort to learn to use it. While it is mostly used in some of ACC's Calculus II, Calculus III, Calculus IV, and Differential Equations courses, it could also be used by students in other courses as well.

Mathematica is quite expensive and it is not required that students purchase it for any class. There may be assignments in some courses which require the use of Mathematica, but it is available in all ACC Learning Labs and Computer Labs.

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Other Software Options

You can find links to each of the software sites mentioned at the bottom of this page.

Wolfram Alpha  Wolfram Alpha is offered by the makers of Mathematica. You can use the free version or pay a small fee for an upgraded version. The upgraded version shows step-by-step how each answer is found - and is quite useful in more advanced courses. Wolfram Alpha is cloud based so it does not have to be downloaded to your computer. It also has apps available so you can use it from most smartphones.

Winplot  From the Winplot website "The freeware download offered here is called Winplot. It’s a plotting utility which can be used for general purposes. It will enable you to draw surfaces and curves which can be presented in several formats. Furthermore, they can even be animated." While Winplot is free, it does require that you download the program to use it.

DPGraph  A 3-dimensional graphing program. Especially useful in Calculus III and Calculus IV classes.

MathType  A plug-in for Microsoft Word that handles typing and creating web pages with equations better than Word does by itself.

DMOZ  DMOZ is not a software but it is a site with links a lot of great software sites.

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Mathematics Software
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Calculators

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