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Shawnee State University Offers New Computer Programming Course
Professor develops free STEM textbook and software for the class
Shawnee State University’s Department of Engineering Technologies will be offering a new freshman-level class called “Introduction to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Computer Programming.”
The class is designed to provide students with software tools and computer programming skills which will help them in classes with math and science content.
A free textbook and free programming-based, problem-solving software, MathPiper and MathPiperIDE, are included in the course. Ted Kosan, associate professor in Industrial and Engineering Technology at SSU, created the textbook and the software.
MathPiper is a new mathematics-oriented programming language which is simple enough to be learned as a first programming language and yet powerful enough to be useful in any science, mathematics or engineering related career.
MathPiper is also a Computer Algebra System (CAS) which is similar in function to the CAS that is included in the TI 89 and TI 92 calculators.
MathPiperIDE is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for MathPiper programming which includes powerful text editing and interactive graphics capabilities.
The class was successfully tested in a local high school in the fall of 2009 and students found the software not only helpful for the course but for other courses as well.
“Providing a free textbook to students is a great way to maintain communications with them after they graduate,” Kosan said. “The students will hopefully reference the textbook often in their careers and then provide feedback on which parts of the book need to be changed or expanded.”
The book will be available on the Internet so students will have access to free, updated copies of the book for as long as the book is in circulation. The books are an open source copyright and students will be able to edit the book if they need to. Potential students are able to examine the book before taking the course at http://www.mathpiper.org/.
For more information about the class, visit www.ssustemclass.info.