By Deborah Hur, STEM Platform Product Manager

As you may have seen in our 11/13 joint announcement, Lumen is partnering with Desmos to make graphing super easy, fun, and intuitive so students can focus on the math and not struggle to use outdated technology.

This blog post shares details about what we’re planning, and here are three ways to learn even more and help shape what’s ahead inside OHM for you and your students

Why partner with Desmos?

In my time teaching college mathematics, semester after semester I struggled to get my class of 35 college freshman through all the keystrokes to simply graph two functions in a reasonable graphing window and find points of interest. By the time everyone had the same information displayed, it was hard to not lose the most important part of the activity- the interpretation of the results. Yet too often my students’ attention spans waned by that point, because they had to focus so intently on the mechanics of how to get the results. 

Desmos is a game-changer. Because it is intuitive to use and accessible, it cuts down on time spent grappling with graphing calculator technology. Instead, it allows teachers and students to get back to focusing on math concepts and interpretation. 

And then there’s the important issue of accessibility. Although OHM already meets accessibility standards for graphing, Desmos offers advanced features to support accessibility at the WCAG 2.1 AA level. Its graphing calculator includes screen reader support with intuitive language and high resolution scaling. It also incorporates audio tracing, with Desmos-patented technology that uses sound to help visually impaired and blind students determine the position, size, and shape of graphed material. Other Desmos tools also support Braille display, high resolution scaling, reverse contrast, and other inclusive features that make its solutions effective for any user, and particularly for individuals of varying abilities.

Here at Lumen, we are delighted to partner with Desmos to provide awesome graphing experiences while keeping our commitment to low cost pricing. Although we’re incurring some added cost per student to add Desmos tools into OHM, there is no change to pricing for OHM. (Note: Lumen’s standard pricing is $25/student per course; special pricing and payment terms may apply to some institutions, including making Lumen course materials available at no cost to students.)  

What’s coming?

Awesome Interactives

Research shows that students learn most effectively by doing. As an instructor, I’ve always loved finding interesting ways to bring learning by doing into my classroom. However, some of my favorite in class graphing activities were time consuming, and if a student missed class, they would miss the valuable activity. Due to the complexity of traditional graphing calculators, they often had a tough time catching up.

To facilitate effective active learning opportunities, we’re excited to launch a feature called “Desmos Interactives” in OHM. These customizable interactive learning activities use Desmos technology to help students engage hands-on with mathematical concepts and graphing. Desmos Interactives speed up the time in class to review the concept. They also present graphing activities with enough context for students to explore on their own – so it’s no longer a catastrophe when someone misses class.

The following GIF illustrates how students will be able to see and interact with learning activities built using the Desmos-powered online graphing calculator inside Lumen OHM.

Desmos Interactives will soon be a new item type in OHM.  They allow instructors to create, copy, or edit interactives, including explanatory information and instructions to guide students through how to manipulate each Desmos graph. Instructors may copy and adapt ready-to-go interactives created by Lumen or author them from scratch. In February 2020, we will release a complete suite of interactives for College Algebra and College Algebra with Corequisite Support (30+ interactives for each course!).  Soon to follow will be complete suites of interactives for Intermediate Algebra (mid-spring 2020) and Introduction to Statistics (summer 2020). 

This screen shot shows how teachers will be able to add new Desmos-powered interactive learning activities inside Lumen OHM

This screen shot shows how teachers will be able to add new Desmos-powered interactive learning activities inside Lumen OHM

In-Assignment Calculator

Providing resources in a timely, consolidated manner helps our students have easy access to all the tools they need in one location. Currently scheduled for Fall 2020 release, we’re excited to bring the option of Desmos calculators directly into OHM assessments, including homework assignments, quizzes, and so forth. Faculty will control which assessments enable the calculator tool and also what type of calculator (basic, scientific, graphing, or geometry tool) students may access inside the assessment.

Calculator Tool: Unexpanded View

A screen shot showing an assessment item in Lumen OHM with a button to activate Desmos-powered online graphing calculator tools.

Expanded View

A screen shot showing an assessment item in Lumen OHM with Desmos-powered graphing calculator tools open and ready to use.

Amazing Graded Graphing Questions

Looking out to our 2021 roadmap, we are excited to explore how we can leverage Desmos to extend OHM’s existing graded graphing question type to include a more robust library of graphs for automatic scoring. So far, our short list includes higher order polynomials, rational functions, logistic growth, and beyond. Do you have ideas for graphing questions you’d love to see supported with our new graded graphing question type? Please share your feedback using this form

Stay in touch!

Stay tuned for more information as we get further along the path to introducing new Desmos-powered features in OHM. In the meantime, please reach out with any questions or feedback. We appreciate your support and the opportunity to serve you and your students.