An Independent Study in the scientific word processing capabilities and computer algebra of Scientific Workplace. This page contains information on

Description of Scientific Workplace

Scientific WorkPlace is a sophisticated scientific word processor that produces typeset quality symbols and text. It also contains a Computer Algebra System with graphing and exam building capabilities. Click here to download an .exe file containing a short video I have prepared introducing Scientific Workplace.

Course Information

  • 4/500 level mathematics (3450) course
  • Credit hours: 3
  • Instructor: Dr. Thomas E. Price
  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
  • Meeting time: Most activity between the instructor and students will be done over the web so there will only be a few class meetings. Any meeting times will be arranged.
  • Course grade: Course grades will be determined by students' performance on class projects. Most projects will be submitted to the instructor over the web. Late projects will not be accepted although all projects must be handed in to successfully complete the course.


Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Will I be required to purchase the Scientific Workplace program in order to take this course?
    Answer: No. The mathematics department will have a site license for the program that will be available over the VPN to those students registered for the course. There will be an opportunity for students to purchase the latest version of the package at the end of the semester.
  2. How much time will be required of me?
    Answer: Normally, there will be two or three lesson files to view per week. Each such file will take about 20-30 minutes to view. You may need to occasionally review some of these files. Most lesson files will contain a project to be completed and submitted. Each project will take from 30 minutes to an hour to complete. I suspect that the average weekly commitment will be from four to six hours.
  3. How will the lesson files be distributed?
    Answer: The instructor will use Camtasia Studio to produce lecture files that can be viewed by the students on their or lab computers and at their leisure, thus eliminating the need to schedule a computer lab for three hours a week. The quality of these "movies" is similar to making a presentation in a computer lab. Because the lecture files can be downloaded, students have the option of reviewing a particular lesson as often as desired. The introductory video mentioned above serves as an example of the lecture files.
  4. Can students request that certain topics be covered?
    Answer: Absolutely!
  5. Will students have opportunities to design their own projects?
    Answer: Yes. In fact, creating your own projects will be encouraged. Consequently, any work completed for other classes such as homework assignments, take home exams, and presentations may be substituted for a particular project in this course provided the substituted work is sufficiently similar to the assigned project. You will need the approval of the instructor well before the due date of the project to make such a substitution.  Students in other areas may be able to submit projects related to their field of study.
  6. Will groups of students be allowed to work together on projects?
    Answer: Yes, but doing so must be approved by the instructor in advance of the project's due date. Groups must also indicate why working in a group will enhance the stated purpose of the project.
  7. What kind of projects will be required?
    Answer: The projects will be designed to promote proficiency in the use of Scientific Workplace in at least six key areas:
    • The use of Scientific Workplace as a scientific word processor and WYSIWYG Windows front end to LATEX code.
    • Inserting mathematics into Scientific Workplace documents.
    • Learning to correctly typeset text and mathematics.
    • Learning to use the computer algebra system in Scientific Workplace. (This will involve some mathematical content.)
    • Learning the use of style files and document class options to control the format of a document.
    • Creating scientific presentations.


Testimonial (For additional comments click here.)

"Scientific Work Place has opened the door to a new world of mathematics for me. In the two months since I began using the software, I have come to realize the power of having a computer program that enables you to do virtually anything you could with pencil and paper. Typing up mathematics in its natural language is very easy, convenient, and efficient with SWP. The learning curve has been steep and it wasn't long before I began to do my homework assignments in SWP. Its computational capabilities have taken the lackluster out of doing mundane, yet tedious calculations, such as matrix multiplication, while writing mathematics. Readability and presentation of logic, two of the most important ingredients to any mathematical argument, are consequent from writing in SWP. In fact, my maturity in writing mathematical arguments and proofs has drastically increased since I've been using the software. Though I've learned much about Scientific Work Place, I have only scratched the surface. I hope to learn its full functionality and am excited to do so."
Ben Polovick
Undergraduate Mathematics Major


If you are interested in this course you should send an email to Dr. Price containing the following information

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • Your student id
  • A brief list of the most recent mathematics courses you have taken
  • Your level of interest in taking this course. For example, "I would register for this course if given permission."
  • Do you mind if give other students in this course your email address?
  • Do you plan to use this program on a computer other than a lab computer?

I will notify those students invited to participate in this course by email.