Maths in the VLE – there has to be a better way

Introducing: MathJax

Mathematics notation is used across the board in the faculties – from Physics to Healthcare, and one thing we did know is you were not satisfied with the default offering from the Blackboard editor.

So we decided to look for something better and fixed on utilising a recent open source project called MathJax to build an integration for the VLE.

MathJax is a mathematics display engine that produces beautiful notation. MathJax is  has the backing of some heavyweight philosophical and corporate sponsors such as the American Mathematical Society, Design Science, Inc., and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

There’s no getting around the fact that creating beautiful typeset mathematics notation for the web is a ‘non-trivial’ problem. You can’t really expect to do anything sophisticated without at least occasionally getting your hands dirty in notation like LaTeX. For many of you, this will already be familiar, and for others, you’ll have access to software that can generate LaTeX for you. Even occasional users of mathematics in their learning material might be tempted to dig a little deeper once you see what MathJax can do for you in the VLE.

Some Schools have already experimented with MathJax in the VLE. For them, they can continue as they were without having to embed the MathJax code in their content. The MathJax code is now included in the VLE pages, minimised and cached with a standardised version.

To get you started, we have a guide to the new MathJax beta tool you’ll find embedded in the VLE editor right now.

VLE Service

Comments are welcome, however if you need help or advice please contact the ISS helpdesk on tel (0113) 343 3333, or helpdesk@leeds.ac.uk.

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