My experience with computer based assessment entirely fits Dan's complaints. We've been using MyMathLab in our transitional (a.k.a. developmental) algebra classes for several years. We don't rely on it exclusively for student assessment. In fact, we kept some pencil and paper homework as part of our algebra redesign with the Emporium model. I've noticed that the students are finishing the MyMathlab homework and struggling with the pencil and paper homework. Most of that is due to the fact that the students don't have to read the instructions with the computer homework. The computers prompt them for the required information.

More to Dan's point, we don't use MyMathLab in College Algebra because we use a modeling approach. We would prefer that the students are able to find a best-fit line for data than solve an absolute value inequality.

Dan's post got me to think about the alternatives to computer based delivery and assessment of mathematics, of which I can think of three. The debate begins now, in TED Talk format.

**Salman Khan**

He tasks me. He tasks me, and I will have him. (image from hark.com) |

From the title of this post, it's clear that I'm not a supporter of Salman Khan. I believe that he is making an honest attempt to contribute to education. My complaint is that he is just delivering traditional lectures in YouTube format. It's not fundamentally any better.

Whenever Khan Academy is mentioned, there are two people who are often brought up as alternatives. They are the next two participants in this debate.

**Conrad Wolfram**

And to prove my sincerity, I will now kill one of the prisoners. (image from squarespace.com) |

Conrad Wolfram has a completely different approach to the future of mathematics education than Salman Khan. His view is to move all of the computational tasks from the student to a computer.

I've critiqued Wolfram's approach before. To summarize, I think this method encourages students to rely too much on trial and error and does not require them to understand the mathematical underpinnings of the computer program. In my opinion, a modeling only approach creates as many problems as it solves.

(For the record, at our college the modeling is limited to college algebra. The other algebra classes are taught in a more traditional format.)

(For the record, at our college the modeling is limited to college algebra. The other algebra classes are taught in a more traditional format.)

**Dan Meyer**

Khan, I'm laughing at the "superior intellect." (image from blogspot.com) |

Dan Meyer is often mentioned as an alternative view to Salman Khan. Whenever I'm reading a discussion on the Khan Academy, I'm usually the one who ~~drags~~ brings in his name.

**Will Wright**

V'ger... expects an answer. (image from blogspot.com) |