Will MathXpert work well with my textbook?
| Yes, all textbooks in algebra, precalculus, and calculus cover essentially the same mathematics. There may be
minor variations in the order in which the topics are presented, but even that is constrained by the natural
order of prerequisites: you can't learn a topic until you have already learned its prerequisite topics. All textbooks
must teach you to solve the same kinds of problems. Whether you learn algebra in Pittsburgh or San Francisco or Warsaw or
Beijing, it's still algebra.
| Therefore, to use MathXpert with your textbook, all you need to do is figure out which "topic" on MathXpert's menus
corresponds to today's chapter or section of your textbook. This should usually be easy to do by comparing the topic
names in MathXpert to the chapter and section titles in your textbook. If you are in doubt, just compare the homework problems
from your textbook to the problems supplied with MathXpert for that topic. Do they look similar? Good.
| MathXpert can solve the problems from your textbook just as well as it can solve the problems that come with it.
It never uses "pre-canned" solutions--it solves every problem individually, so it doesn't care if the problem came with MathXpert,
or came from your textbook, or was made up on the spot. (Of course, there is a limit to its intelligence--but it should be
able to handle textbook-level problems.) Since it can (internally) solve your problem, it is in a position to offer you
hints and advice, even when you haven't asked it to present a complete solution to you.
| Therefore, the only hurdle in solving problems from your textbook instead of problems that come with MathXpert
is that you must somehow input those problems into MathXpert. There are two ways to accomplish that, depending on whether
your teacher and your whole class are using MathXpert, or just you. If you're on your own, you will have to
type the problems into MathXpert yourself. You can select "Type it in" instead of choosing a problem supplied
by MathXpert, or you may find it simple to choose "Edit" to start with a problem that is written in a form
acceptable to MathXpert.
| If you are a teacher, you can prepare a "problem file" for your students, containing a given homework assignment.
Then the students can open that file from the File menu in MathXpert, and just select the
problems, rather than needing to type them in themselves.
| Incidentally, our original plan was to supply the problems from commonly used textbooks. We naively thought
that publishers would be glad to have us do that, since it would make their books more easily usable with MathXpert.
But it turns out that publishers view the homework problems in their texts as intellectual property--they are afraid that
if you have an electronic copy of the problems, you won't buy the book. This is particularly strange in view of the
fact that the problems are necessarily the most similar parts of different textbooks--if you want to distinguish your
textbook from others, you need to do a better job of explaining things, but you need to present the same kind of
homework problems as every other textbook. Ah well, the world is full of strange things, and there are worse fates
than having to type your own problems into MathXpert in order to get its expert advice.