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Editor's Notes, July, 2001
Welcome, dear reader. If you have already visited our first issue, welcome back! I'll begin with an apology to our readers who have been wondering about the long time delay between the first and second issues. It's a long story -- which we won't bore you with here -- but we're back, and we're optimistic that the growing pains experienced over the last seven months won't happen again. We expect to publish a third issue before the end of 2001, and after that we are considering moving to a "continuous publication" schedule, by which new materials will be posted as they are ready. Part of this plan will be a voluntary notification scheme by which interested readers could be informed by e-mail when something new appears. Watch for details in our next issue.
This issue, Number 2, features (but not exclusively) the Middle Atlantic Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications Throughout the Curriculum (MACMATC), whose current project director, Jerry Porter, is a member of our Editorial Board and the person who first proposed the JOMA concept. As you will see from our pages on the background and history of MACMATC, this is a very broad project with many different kinds of accomplishments and products. Some of the materials produced are not particularly appropriate for JOMA -- but some of those may be submitted for inclusion in MathDL. Of the materials that are appropriate and that have been submitted, some are still in the process of review and revision, so the contents of this issue are by no means a complete look at the project. That said, here are the items in the current issue that come from MACMATC:
MACMATC is one of seven Math Across the Curriculum (MATC) projects funded by the National Science Foundation. (Click here for the complete list.) Another of our "articles" in this issue, Math & Architecture, was inspired by a course developed at Franklin and Marshall College with funding from the Indiana University project, as explained by Annalisa Crannell in her background piece. The authors of Math & Architecture -- which is a complete web site, not just an article -- are Hayley Rintel and Melissa Shearer, both of whom graduated from Franklin and Marshall earlier this year. The site is a striking example of what students can accomplish in an independent study project.
As promised in issue 1, our section called Modules begins in this issue. Roughly speaking, a module is a learning unit somewhere between a Mathlet and a course. More specifically, we view modules as interactive learning environments designed to occupy one or more students productively for anywhere from two hours to two weeks. Those time frames are suggestions, not firm boundaries -- we can imagine that some modules might fall outside that range, in which case we hope the authors would say so. In addition to the six modules from the MACMATC project, we have one on hyperbolic geometry by Associate Editor Andy Bennett. Our Mathlets section, the central focus of our first issue, is a little thin this time. We have a lot of Mathlets in the pipeline, but we (and our authors) are finding that meeting the standards of our referees takes time. We are also starting a Reviews section in this issue, but it's singular for now, since we have received only one signed review. We welcome more contributions in this area, especially (but not necessarily limited to) reviews of materials already published in JOMA.
Finally, our Developers' Area takes on a new look in this issue, along with a troika of new editors, Daniel Steinberg, Tom Leathrum, and Joe Yanik. Daniel has the Welcome article, and Tom and Joe have each written their own articles about development of Java materials. In addition to the editors' contributions, we have articles from the Educational Software Components of Tomorrow (ESCOT) team and from JOMA 1 contributor Alexander Bogomolny.