FLORENCE – Thanks to new equipment purchases and the donation of several computers, Francis Marion University has created a mathematics computer lab for students and faculty.
“We’re using 12 computers (donated by Process Technology), along with others we had, to create a computer classroom for mathematics classes,” said FMU’s math department chairman, William P. Fox. “Several math instructors are already using the lab for their courses. We also will use it as a development lab for faculty members.” The 12 computers donated are Dell 486, 100 MX machines. They have been upgraded to run all the mathematics department software and can be connected to the FMU academic computing network, Fox said.
Some new computers were purchased for the math faculty this summer, Fox said. He then made sure the computers were loaded with Office 2000 and a new suite of mathematics software, and upgraded them to be able to run the Addision-Welsey Tutorial programs used in FMU’s Math 105 and Math 111 courses. Additionally, FMU purchased a site license for Maple, a computer algebra system, and installed it on all the lab machines, along with other mathematics software.
Process Technology denoted these machines to FMU after they upgraded to new machines, Fox said. The president at the company is a United States Military Academy classmate and friend of Fox.
“For them it’s a tax break. If anyone else is interested,” Fox said, “the lab needs new furniture, printers, a lab hub, a lab computer server, and a laser ‘server’ printer.”
“Mathematics today is being technology driven, from the elementary schools and middle schools to the high schools. Students come to college more prepared in using technology and less prepared in basic (by hand) skills. Mathematics needs to take advantage of the students’ knowledge in technology and continue to empower them to solve real mathematics problems. Most of the major textbooks today illustrate examples with both graphing calculators and computers,” Fox said.
Two new freshman courses, Math 120 and Math 121, are high-technology driven in terms of modeling and problem solving using algebra, he said. “This is the start of a new era of advanced technology in mathematics at FMU.”
For more information about FMU’s math lab, contact Fox at 843-661-1570.