Thank you for the extensive contributions to my question. First, an apology, I should have waited a day before posting, since there were a number of “less than useful” statements, the first being the posting was incorrectly titled. It should have been “Pedagogical choices using Maple”
But I feel that you folks have addressed the big question, which is: which selections should we make that will provide the the most benefit for the students. Of course what choices we make depends upon the audience: those who may use Maple only for a course or two, vs. those who may see it for many courses.
I agree with Edgardo, we are talking Standard GUI, not classic.
For installations, I have noted that the default in mode is Document mode. I have had the students set the default to Worksheet mode for many of the reasons cited by acer. But I’m open to changing if there are benefits. Personally, I find the output of Document mode potentially more attractive, but more error inducing. Hence, I write out all sample Maple worksheets using worksheet mode so that the students have something to mimic. Unless the document is particularly complex, I upload PDF versions of the worksheets as opposed to native .mw files. This choice forces the students to practice reproducing the commands.
My choice of words, “call and respond”, refers to the worksheets version of writing a command, seeing the response by Maple, and having everything grouped together. While I agree the vertical bars may appear distracting, I believe they help the student to organize commands and the outcomes. Otherwise, I could simply switch to Document mode. However, if others had a different experience, I am willing to change.
Some of my colleagues do use Document mode because they treat Maple mostly as a Wolfram Alpha calculator, a “one command, one outcome” type system. I prefer to include more depth when working with Maple, using the outcome of one command as the basis for the next. For many of my students, they are first-year/freshman who have had limited exposure to programing. I feel Maple is a gentle, but highly productive way to introduce some basic ideas of programming. Fortunately for me, in upper-division courses, such as Townsend/Griffiths level quantum mechanics, students have been exposed to a great deal of programming and worksheets with loops, procedures and functions are easily readable to them.
As for 1D Maple notation vs. 2D notation, I agree with acer that there are clear advantages of the 1D typesetting for the reasons acer states. Missing multiplication signs (e.g. k(x-b) when one means k*(x-b)), extra spaces (e.g. the extra space between with and (plots) ) , and sometimes the WYS is not the WYG effect. For such errors, I ask the students to simply retype the command line. But on the other hand, the 2D is very easy to read while inputting it AND easier to read when I hand them a worksheet for the first time. Students in upper division courses still prefer the 2D notation even though they have been used to Python and MATLAB from other courses. Some have wondered why there isn’t a color coding editing system in Maple like there is for other systems. My sense is that until Maple uses some sort of color coding system for the 1D input, I’m going to stick with 2D, but I may experiment this coming year since I will have a new class coming in who have not been exposed to Maple yet.
Finally, I agree with acer – command-completion is the preferred method over palettes. But for students who may use Maple only as a form of a Wolfram Alpha system, the palettes and context-menu are useful. Beyond my first year course, such choices are discouraged.
I too have used Maple for about 20 years for both research and education, both with success and failures. Some of the less mature students hate it, but most of the students recognize the value of it. (Occasionally I catch them using it for other courses. Shocking! But you would be surprised how common it is for students to compartmentalize disciplines and courses. ) And for many students Maple ends up becoming a type of drug. They can’t add two numbers without it. J
Now that classes have ended, I have some spare time from I look forward to reading more from Maple Primes and Maplesoft regarding educational issues. I certainly enjoy the contributions of Robert Lopez, but I would also be interested in hearing about the experiences of other educators.