Advanced Maths Tools

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.4. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: Advanced Maths Tools.

NOTE: The tools discussed in these pages are, at this time (August 2011), considered to be "third-party plugins". They are not core, as yet, and still need to be thoroughly tested under more stringent conditions i.e. by users of all sorts. If interested, please follow the links below and download the package that suits your situation and use it in good faith. Any issues or problems can be discussed in the Mathematics Tools Forum. Be aware that these tools may also undergo major changes as they develop and may be required to do so before they are included as core. Check back here as often as you feel is necessary - updates will be included here when possible

Introduction

In August of 2011, Mauno Korpelainen released his long-awaited Maths integration package, (tongue in cheekily but aptly) named SEE, Super Equation Editor. Mauno successfully integrated a number of Maths tools onto Moodle 2.1. These tools include Geogebra, JSXGraph, Math, MathML, MathTran, tex, DragMath, Geonext, JSQuery, MathJax. Mauno had also included a version of TinyMCE that has, as native, a Maths editing toolbar. The pages that follow are a guide to downloading, installing and using the plugins.

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Tip: It is highly recommended that trialling these tools is best done on a test Moodle, not a production site. Once familiar and happy that there is not going to be too many issues in using them on a production site, they can then be tested more thoroughly by your Site Users.

ASSUMPTIONS: Your Moodle is using a script-to-image converter to render TeX. You have activated and configured the TeX notation filter and have ensured the Algebra Filter has been activated. (As a test, you may want to edit some TeX and check that it renders properly.)

Download

At this time, the files are not available from Moodle's Downloads area, but no doubt they will be soon enough. In the meantime, you can download the files you require from Mauno's site.

There are two packages, which are both zip files, available from MplugA and MplugB.

MplugA

At 70MB, MpluA is the larger of the two files, but it contains a lot of files not available in MplugB.

MplugB

MplugB is 52.4MB in size and contains all the same features are MplugA except it does not include Mathjax.


How these files are installed to each Moodle is entirely up to the Administrators, but what is suggested here is written mainly for the inexperienced Administrator, for people new to Moodle.

Installation

The installation of these plugins does not require any core files to be overwritten, but some can be replaced, if considered a desirable outcome. The simplest and easiest way, and maybe the safest or at least most controlled method, is to just copy and paste, via FTP, the various sub-folders to the appropriate folders on your Moodle.

Both zip files contain three folders, filter, lib and theme.

filter

In the filter folder, there are six sub-folders, each of which can be copied to the moodle/filter folder of your installation. These sub-folders are geogebra, jsxgraph, math, mathml, mathtran and tex.

lib

In the lib folder there are also six sub-folders for MplugB, and seven sub-folders for MplugA. Both have sub-folders called common, dragmath, editor, geonext, jsquery, jsxgraph. The MplugA also contains the additional sub-folder of MathJax.

The editor sub-folder contains the tinymath sub-subfolder.

All these sub-folders can be copied to the moodle/lib folder, and if the default HTMLArea and TinyMCE editors are required to be retained, then the TinyMath editor sub-folder can be added to the moodle/lib/editor folder. You may decide to remove the original editors and replace them with the TinyMaths editor. If so, the moodle/lib/editor folder can be deleted and replaced with the plugin's editor folder. However, this is not a recommended practice. What is used in case of a back stop being required? The Admins can deactivate the defaults and activate the TinyMath editor, retaining the original default editor as an emergency back stop.

theme

Two Moodle 2 themes are included with both packages. One is Mathstandard and the other is called Stylist. These can be unzipped and pasted to the moodle/theme folder and can be used if needed. Like all themes, they may not be to prevailing or local cultural tastes, but they can be modified to suit each Moodle site's requirements.


Configuration

Log into the Moodle and it should open into the Site Administration > Notifications page. Usually when there has been an addition, Moodle will automagically include everything as part of its installed files listing and open the Site Administration > Notifications page. If it does not, then go to the Notifications page and it should automatically bring up what it is changing and updating.

The Notification screen

Click the Upgrade button and it should run through it smoothly, taking you back to the Notifications page, which should now contain a minimal amount of information.

From there individual components need to be configured.

filter

The installer will continue with the configuration of the Geogebra package.

The Geogebra filter installer screen

followed by the configuration screen

The Geogebra filter configuration screen

Initially, it is recommended that the default settings be adopted. Having said that, perhaps the workspace is a bit small for a particular environment though, it can be changed either at this point or later, when it suits the Users. If Geogebra is already being used and there is a familiarity with the tool, check the defaults against the full installation, otherwise it is better to leave it until a better understanding of the tools is gained.

There is more configuration required, but we need to leave the Filters and return to the Administration menu. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save button.

Additional HTML

Go to Site Administration > Appearance and you will see a new line:

A new item on the menu
Click this and enter the Additional HTML configuration page.
The Additional HTML editing page
The Additional HTML editing page with edit
The Additional HTML editing page is a simple and straightforward editing page. it allows you to add some additional HTML into your pages that you may feel is necessary to be consistently present right across your site. Things like logos and such are adequately catered for in themes, but there are other things that you may feel are not. Make careful consideration before you add much beyond what is required here to get the Maths tools working.

This is not an opportunity to include additional styling commands, that is taken care of in the CSS files of your theme.

The recommended script, originally written by Mauno (change the IP address to suit your server):

<link rel='stylesheet' type='text/css' href='http://111.121.101.131/lib/jsxgraph/distrib/jsxgraph.css' media='screen' />
<script type='text/javascript' src='http://111.121.101.131/lib/jsxgraph/distrib/jsxgraphcore.js'></script>
<script type='text/javascript' src='http://111.121.101.131/lib/jsxgraph/distrib/GeonextReader.js'></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://111.121.101.131/lib/MathJax/MathJax.js">
MathJax.Hub.Config({
config: ["MMLorHTML.js"],
extensions: ["tex2jax.js","mml2jax.js","MathMenu.js","MathZoom.js"],
tex2jax: {displayMath: [['@d','@d']], inlineMath: [['@i','@i']] },
TeX: {
extensions: ["AMSmath.js","AMSsymbols.js","noErrors.js","noUndefined.js"]
}
});
</script>
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
var AScgiloc = "http://111.121.101.131/lib/common/php/svgimg.php";
var dsvglocation = "http://111.121.101.131/lib/common/";
var AMTcgiloc = "http://111.121.101.131/filter/tex/texviewer.php?action=Mimetex&tex=";//Primary fallback
var Gemcgiloc = "http://111.121.101.131/filter/tex/texviewer.php?action=Tex&tex=";//"Forced fallback"
</script>
<script src="http://111.121.101.131/lib/common/AM.php" type="text/javascript"></script>

This is a sample of additional HTML that can be added to the head of a document.

Closer examination of the script above reveals that it establishes the links required to the various packages that are used by the TinyMaths editor, which is configured soon. It adds no CSS, but does create the command sequences required to correct for errors in the rendering of the TeX statements derived from the various packages. The characters and TeX macros avaiable are loaded automatically. Some TeX macros are included in one package by default, but not another, e.g. the \therefore, ( \therefore ), macro does not appear to be included in the DragMath package, but is in the MathJax.

Setting the Accessibility Options

You can then go to the Plugins > Filters > Manage Filters menu and click to go to the Manage Filters page.

Setting the accessibility options

In this image, the options have been partly set, the User requires Geogebra, JSXGraph and MathJax. There will be more configuring later, but for now, the TinyMath Editor needs to be activated.

lib

The first thing that needs be done here is to set the TinyMaths Editor as the default.

theme

The themes included with this plugin are configured and used in exactly the same way as any theme. Go to the Themes page for further information.

Adding the Tinymath Editor

Installing the Tinymath Editor is not enough, on it own, you have to activate it. Go to the Plugins > Editors > Manage Editors screen.

Selecting the Manage Editors options

When there you should see something like this:

Setting the default editor

To activate the Tinymath editor, simple click on the closed eye.

Activating the Tinymath editor

To then make it the default editor, use the promotion arrows to place it first in the list.

Setting the default editor

Tinymath should now be the default editor. To check this, go into a course and open it for editing and add a Resource. When you click on "Page" for example, you should get the Tinymath editor displaying. It looks something like:

Tinymath - the editing toolbar

This essentially finishes the major installation tasks, there may now be some additional configuring that you may want to do, and some of that will be explained in related Docs.

See Also