In a post on this blog on August 14, I indicated that I was
going to require my students in the introduction to proofs course to use
LaTeX. This is the first time I have
done this. I am quite nervous about
requiring the use of LaTeX because I am not sure how the students will react to
this. Students seem to be quite
comfortable using a word processor and it is usually not too difficult for them
to then incorporate the use the equation editor. Most students have used MS Word and some used
Open Office. I am not fond of the equation
editors in these two word processors, and I often encourage my students to use
MathType, especially with MS Word.

Yesterday, I introduced my students to LaTeX. Students were asked to bring their laptops to
class and to prepare for class by installing LaTeX or signing up for a
WriteLaTeX account before class. We then
had a 50-minue LaTeX workshop in class.
I supplied them with a .tex document that will serve as the template for
their work in the class. I also supplied
them with a reference document (latex-examples.pdf) and an exercise for them to
work on during class (latex-exercise.pdf).
I was very pleased with the results.
Most students only progressed through about the first page of the
exercise document, but I was very happy with their enthusiasm and willingness
to try to learn LaTeX. All of the
students were able to do something and obtained a successfully compiled LaTeX
document. I am very hopeful that having
students use LaTeX will be a success.

I am hoping to have a couple more LaTeX workshops during the
semester, but we do have other resources for students at Grand Valley as
well. First, there students may bring
their laptop and their LaTeX issues to my office. We also have a tutor in our Mathematics
Center that can help students with LaTeX.
Finally, Robert Talbert, a colleague of mine at Grand Valley, has
produced about ten screencasts about LaTeX to help students learn LaTeX. These screencasts are available on the GrandValley Math Channel on YouTube. Feel
free to have your students use these screencasts.

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