[Tex/LaTex] How to encourage TeX as a homework medium


I have been trying to encourage my students to use TeX in writing up homework, especially in early math major courses, like intro to proofs, where the typesetting is not too arduous. I have had very limited success with students taking it up. Does anyone else encourage/require assignments to be typeset? What strategies have worked best for you?

Best Answer

As a Mathematics/Engineering student approaching the end of my undergraduate career, I can say that typesetting my Homework was a pain until I had a nice refined template to use. Based on my experiences, I would suggest the following:

  • Provide your students with a LaTeX template that they can use as a starting point for their homework. Something that has nice features like a "Problem" environment that auto-increments question numbers and has support for sub-problems (parts, a, b, c, etc). Bonus points for nice headers/footers that show the student's name, current problem and "Continued on next page" if the answer is long. Providing a nice template eases the learning curve and can really sell some people on the elegance of TeX.

  • Absolutely, positively, provide the TeX sources to any assignment or notes page you hand out. One of the most pointless, time-consuming activities I have been forced to undertake is copying problem statements out of a PDF, pasting them into my homework document, and then regenerating all the mathematical typesetting and enumeration markup that did not copy cleanly or at all. Bonus points for using the homework template you developed to provide questions- then there is no copying and pasting, students just have to fill in the answer.