As noted in an earlier post, at Mathfest in Tampa, Chrissy Safranski and I led a minicourse on teaching Active Calculus and using Runestone. We had a great time doing that and here I want to share a few updates and reflections along with some resources we developed.
We had more than 30 people attend the workshop; it was delightful meeting so many new people who are interested in using Active Calculus in some way and who are considering using Runestone as the learning platform on which to deliver the textbook.
Briefly, Runestone is a Learning Engineering Analytics Platform (LEAP) that allows us to render the HTML version of Active Calculus in a way that all of the WeBWorK interactives are “trackable” by allowing students to log in to the textbook. Runestone started out as a platform for free, open, online interactive computer science texts. In the past couple of years, Runestone and PreTeXt have combined forces, and that has led to new opportunities for math textbooks, especially those with embedded WeBWorK exercises.
You can now find a version of Active Calculus (single variable*) in the Runestone library (scroll to “Mathematics”) that features every Preview Activity in WeBWorK and even more WeBWorK exercises at the end of each section. (* the Runestone version of AC is for the one with the new alternate Chapter 8 focused on Taylor series – a good way to get a sense of how this text looks is to look at the online version of AC-alternate.)
If you are interested in learning more about how to get started, Chrissy and I are glad to share with you some resources we developed: a Google doc of instructions for getting started as a student, and another on getting started as an instructor. Of course, you can also read the Guide to Getting Started on PreTeXt Books in Runestone.
The WeBWorK features in Runestone are still in beta — functioning well and getting better all the time; Chrissy was the first person to teach Active Calculus from Runestone in Winter 2023, and she and I and several other people will be doing so in our classes this fall. Some folks from the minicourse are also interested in using Runestone, so I am going to organize a small Google group just for Runestone users (or folks who are curious to learn more). If you are interested in participating, please email me at your earliest convenience.