Friday Funny!

We would like to share with you a card created by one of our content coders using WebAssign graphing code to celebrate the holiday season!  You can add this image to your own assignments and share with your students and other instructors using Question ID:  2811743.

Happy Holidays!

Christmas tree WAplot

Friday Funny!

This week’s Friday Funny was sent in by one of our product managers. “All About That Space” is a volunteer outreach video project created by the Pathways Interns of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Want to learn more about WebAssign’s astronomy offering? Check out our astronomy discipline page!

ESOP Month at WebAssign

By Joel Morgan Kearney

October was national ESOP month and since setting up our own Employee Stock Ownership Program at WebAssign in 2013, we were excited to celebrate! The ESOP Committee hosted a series of events to build some excitement about what it means to work for an employee-owned company. These events included an ice cream social, birthday party, spirit day, and a sampling of local beer. The goal of these activities was to both raise awareness of the ESOP and instill a sense of pride in all WebAssign employees.

ESOP Month_1Ice Cream Social
On October 10th, the ESOP Committee brought the employees together for Howling Cow ice cream, made right here at North Carolina State University. The TVs in the Café were set up to explain and show the process they use to make it, and they brought several flavors for taste testing. The runaway favorite among employees was Wolf Tracks, Howling Cow’s bestseller.

NC Beer Sampling
On October 23rd, employees were treated to a beer sampling arranged with Wine 101. They were nice enough to supply several varieties of beer, along with an expert on site to answer any questions about the beers or the brewing process.

Trivia/Prize DrawingESOP Month_2
Throughout the month, the ESOP Committee sent out ESOP trivia emails with promises of prizes to come later. Prize winners were determined by a drawing, and everyone seemed pleased with their quirky or tasty winnings.

October bday1Birthday Party
After the Town Hall meeting on Halloween, employees trekked back to the office to enjoy soups and sandwiches. Three delicious crockpots of warm soup were arrayed on the counters, along with various wraps from Jason’s Deli. There were assorted vegetables, hummus, and other veggie-friendly dishes too.

Spirit Dayparty3
Also on the day of the Town Hall, employees were encouraged to show their WebAssign spirit by wearing costumes with a company theme. Anyone who participated earned an automatic entry into the ESOP prize drawing. Many employees showed up in WA t-shirts and colors, and we even had a visit from WAUGerine and the WebAssign Kid (aka Matt Lawson and Jason Justice) at the Town Hall. The winners of the Spirit Day Costume Contest were Bridget Hales for her Waffle Ticket costume and Shane Taylor for his Captain Correct ensemble.

ESOP Month_3Food Drive
To celebrate the WebAssign values of service and teamwork, throughout the month WA teams donated items for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. We collected a total of 1144 items (compared to 657 last year), weighing in at 875 pounds. Sales was the winning team by a margin of one travel soap.

In Memory of James Stewart

We want to take a moment to pay our respects to James Stewart, an inspirational educator, world-renowned author, and mathematician, who passed away peacefully surrounded by family at his home in Toronto, Canada on Wednesday, December 3. Read the official media release.

In the last forty-plus years since two of his students at McMaster University suggested he write his own calculus book, world-renowned author and mathematician James Stewart basically never stopped writing. Having essentially devoted his life to mathematics, Jim published over seventy textbooks, releasing a new text or edition almost every year. But calculus wasn’t Jim’s only passion. In addition to being a mathematician he was also a concert-level violinist and music philanthropist. These very different themes played an integral role in his life as told in the upcoming feature documentary, “The Integral Man,” created by Auratic Media.


During his life he donated generously to the University of Toronto, McMaster University, which named their Mathematics Building “The James Stewart Mathematics Centre” and The Fields Institute of Math which named their library “The James Stewart Library.” He also financially supported young musicians in their career development, many of whom are now recognized as outstanding performers.

Recently, Engaging Minds sat down with Jim at his home in Toronto, Canada to discuss his love of mathematics, how students learn, and the role of technology in calculus education.

Watch excerpts from Cengage’s interview with James Stewart below.

As they sat with Jim, they gathered a wealth of insights about teaching and learning. Here are a few of their favorites:

  • Technology brings calculus to life. Calculus can be regarded as the mathematics of motion. It shows things approaching other things. This can be hard to convey that in a static object like a book, but on the screen, calculus comes alive.
  • Jim wanted students to see that calculus is both practical and beautiful. Throughout his books, he incorporated that message with the practical aspect of mathematics. Solving problems is very powerful, but that is only one aspect of calculus; Jim also wanted students to discover the inherent beauty of calculus. This is challenging to convey because one cannot explain or realize it all at once—it is cumulative.
  • When students came to his office for help on a particular topic, and other students brought similar problems, Jim realized the topics that may need further explanation or pedagogical improvement. When he began writing his first edition years ago, Jim paid attention to his students, and to the questions that they were asking.

Read the transcript of Cengage’s interview with James Stewart.

The legacy continues

The team at Cengage worked with Jim before his passing to create a plan to continue his legacy. Jim selected and mentored his team of co-authors over the years to carry on the vision for his books to maintain his voice, approach and accuracy.  Jim touched the lives of many and he will be mourned, but he will not be forgotten. His legacy will live on to enrich the lives of others still to come.