SE-Kursus Matematik 2A

Hold 3, 4 og 6

Introduction to MapleTA

What is MapleTA

MapleTA is a web based system for practicing, testing, and evaluating mathematical skills (or other skills). We will use it in several ways in the course on linear algebra. We will use the system to correct solutions to the problems posed every time we meet. The system will also be used for the exam that you will take at the end of the course.

Stated very briefly, once you are logged onto the system and do an assignment, then the system will present you with problems to be solved. You solve the problem as usual, ie using pen and paper, and then finally enter your answer into the system.

What is needed?

You need to use a web browser, with java and javascript enabled. This is almost always the case for modern browser. And of course, you need a computer, and an internet connection. Up until exam time the system is accessible from anywhere. During the exam period the system will be closed, except for those using the computers designated for the exam. More about this later.

Getting onto the system

Start your web browser and go to the address given to you by your instructor, For security reasons this information is not available as a link. You will see a screen that looks like

You can read off the location of the home page for Hold4 from this screen shot. In the two other cases replace Hold4 by either Hold3 or Hold6. You can see on this screen that no assignments are given yet. Click on the link "See list of supported browsers", to see the requirements for your browser.


Your first step is to register yourself as a student in the class. Click on the link "Register as a student in this class". You will get to the following screen

Fill out all the required fields and submit the form. Be sure to write down your user name and password, and keep the latter in a safe place.

IMPORTANT Register only once! Registration will be possible only for the first few weeks of the course. After that registration will be closed. If you do not register, you cannot take the exam, hence will fail the course!

LIMITATIONS When you register, you can only use the letters a-z and A-Z. You cannot use Danish letters, accents etc. You are limited to one first name, one initial (middle name), and one last name. So adapt you name to these requirements, if needed.

STUDENT ID You must fill out the field with Student ID. Here you must use your Aalborg University "studienummer".

Using the system

You will receive detailed information on how to use the system during the course. Here are some important points to note. The first one concerns navigation between the various pages. Let us take another look at the registration page. Now we have added red numbers 1 to 4.

The button marked 1 is the back button in MapleTA. Always us this button to navigate back. Similar for forward buttons, when they apper. If you use the browser back button, you may LOSE YOUR WORK, and may have to start all over. The button marked 2 above is the home button. It takes you back to the starting page for your class, as in the first screen shot above. The button marked 3 is the help button. We will discuss the use of this button later.


There will be assignments for you to do almost every time the class meets. There are several types of assignments. One type is called practice. You can do such an assignment without logging in. The result of your work is not recorded. Another type is called Homework/Quiz. Those posted will usually be what is called Reworkable. To do an assignment of this type you must log in. The system keeps a record of your results. You can view your own results. That the assignment is Reworkable means that you can come back and try to correct any errors made. Each assignment has a period of availability. In this course it will be mostly Unlimited. This means that you can come back anytime and do assignments once more.

As stated above, the system keeps a record of results of Homework/Quiz assignments. These records will only be used by the instructor to monitor progress, and to decide on topics and assignments for problem sessions.

The exam is a special type of assignment. Detailed information will be given later.

Trying an assignment

If you try an assignment, once you have logged in, you will get to a screen looking something like

There are red numbers 1 to 7 on the screen shot. Here is a brief explanation of each numbered item.

  1. The question and the number of points obtained by correctly solving it.
  2. In this question you are given three reply options. You should work out your answer with pen and paper, as usual, and then mark your reply. This person has chosen the second reply option.
  3. Once you have marked your answer, press the next button. Notice that on this screen the browser navigation buttons have been removed, so here you need extra efforts to make errors of the type mentioned above.
  4. By pressing the jump button, you can select from a list of (in this case 13) questions. This is useful, if you are reworking an assignment and just need to try a few questions once more.
  5. Once you have solved all questions, press the grade button. If there are unanswered questions, or if there are input errors in your questions, you get one chance to go back.
  6. This is the help button.
  7. If you press this button, you get a screen as shown below. If you quit the session in any other way, your work is lost. So do not close down your browser without first saving and quitting.

Since the homework we do here has unlimited availability, we can return anytime and do it again.

Let us look at another example. Here we have entered a practice type assignment. The screen shot of the first page is

In this case there is an answer box to be filled out. You must work out the answer, using pen and paper, and then enter the answer into the box using Maple syntax. The instructions repeat this, and if you enter your answer using a wrong syntax, two things can happen. Either the system grades the answer as wrong, or the system gives an error message. There is some help built in to solve this problem.. If you submit an answer with syntax errors, you will get a chance to correct these before the system proceeds to grading.

Maple syntax

Since this course is on Linear Algebra, we must use Maple syntax. The simplified syntax allowed for some types of replies should be entirely avoided. Now the good news is that this is all you need to know about Maple. We will practice the use of Maple syntax many times during the course.

One more thing. There are two packages with linear algebra commands in Maple. This course uses the newer one, which is the one called LinearAlgebra. The other one is called linalg, and this is the one used on the CD accompanying Lay's book. When you enter solutions in MapleTA, you must use the syntax from the package LinearAlgebra. See the separate document with a discussion of Maple syntax.

Revideret den 24. januar 2007 af Arne Jensen