When it comes to learning management systems, most people are familiar with Blackboard, Canvas, D2L (Brightspace), Moodle among a slew of others. While all of these systems provide the basic functionality needed to run highschool and university courses, what we have seen is that most of these systems are quite limited when it comes to dealing with courses centred around mathematics or statistics.
This ranges from the inability of the system to handle complex mathematical syntax or open-ended math questions to inefficient content creation workflows and the lack of automated grading for free response questions (FRQ). However, most of these issues can be easily solved with a dedicated math engine that can be integrated into your learning management system.
This is where we come in. Bolster Academy is a math engine that doubles as a digital textbook and a homework tool.
We provide theory and practice material on a range of topics that are appropriate for higher education mathematics and statistics courses. The digital nature of our content allows us to use graphs, videos, animations, and other interactive elements to make up for the lack of face-to-face interactions during these times of social distancing. Teachers can use our content as is, customize it to their liking or create their own material using our authoring tools. For a more detailed breakdown of our content and a live preview, you can head over to our open courses.
Our practice questions consist of randomizable variables, automated feedback and hints for every answer attempt. The randomizable aspect of our questions allows us to provide students with endless practice material while the automated feedback ensures that students are always met with the right help at the right time. On top of that, we are able to recognize mathematical equivalency for any given answer, which helps us automatically grade open-ended questions. When it comes to summative or formative assessments you can repurpose our randomizable questions or create your own. For a more detailed overview of our testing functionality, check out this guide.
Lastly, our engine allows us to deliver in-depth learning analytics that will help teachers have a complete overview over each student’s progress. For a more detailed overview of all of our features, you can head over to our feature page.
As for using our engine as a part of your existing learning ecosystem, we support the standard LTI integration (http://www.imsglobal.org/activity/learning-tools-interoperability) that allows you and your students to open our application via single sign on (SSO). In other words, you will be able to access our content and utilize our functionality from your LMS without having to manually log in to another application again. Once configured, Bolster Academy can be surfaced as links in course modules or used to deliver custom assignment experiences. Moreover, you can do grade pushback, meaning that the grades in our tool are automatically copied to the gradebook of your LMS. On top of that we allow you to embed an enrollment code in the LTI link, which handles automatic enrollment to the correct groups. Lastly, we offer the possibility to create deep-links to course modules or tests via custom parameters.
In light of the recent developments with COVID-19, we have decided to offer our tool + course licenses, including support, for free for the rest of the academic year for those who are trying to move their education online. If you want to learn more about our offer, you can head here. Or you can just send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get you set up in a matter of days.