Let me first say that I am interested in hearing from anyone
who has required students to use LaTeX in their introduction to proofs course
as I will be requiring my students to use LaTeX for the first time this fall.

For over ten years, faculty at Grand Valley have been
requiring students to submit a “portfolio of proofs” as part of the
requirements for MTH 210 – Communicating in Mathematics. (This is our introduction to proofs
course.) These problems are often posed
in the form of a conjecture, which the students have to either prove or
disprove. MTH 210 is a so-called
Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) Course and the portfolio project is used to
satisfy the requirements for such a course.
Basically, a designated SWS course give students an opportunity to
submit their work for review before submitting it for a final grade.

The portfolio for MTH 210 consists of about ten problems and
students are usually allowed to submit their work on most of the problems two
times before the final submission.
Another feature of the portfolio project is that all work must be submitted
electronically and completed on a word processor capable of typesetting
mathematical equations and expressions.
In the past few years, we have allowed students to use LaTeX to complete
their work, and a few faculty have required students to use LaTeX.

I have encouraged students to use LaTeX but have not
required them to do so, but I am going to require them to do so this fall. Most students have used Microsoft Word and
its equation editor to complete their portfolio problems and have found it
reasonably easy to use. I have encouraged
students to use MathType hardly anyone has done so since there is a modest
price for MathType.

Perhaps the main reason I did not require LaTeX is that I
have become very efficient with using Word’s reviewing capabilities and can
make my comments electronically and return them to students quickly. However, some things have changed that make
it easier for me to require students to use LaTeX. One is that I now have had an iPad for 18
months and can use the app iAnnotate to
make comments on pdf files as easily as I can use Word to do so. Another is that there are now online versions
of LaTeX that students can use without having to install it on their
computer. I will be encouraging my
students to use writeLaTeX (https://www.writelatex.com/).

One last plug for a web site: Another issue with having students submit
their work electronically is how to have them do this. I have tried various methods over the years
and a separate Gmail account for the course worked quite well. However, last year I started using a web site
called DROPitTOme (http://dropitto.me/). This can be set up so that students can send
their work to a DROPitTOme folder in your DropBox account. You set up a special account with a password
that allows students to send their file to your Dropbox without having access
to the rest of your Dropbox. This worked
very well and I will continue to use it this year.

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