Inserting Math Formula into Open edX®

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Introduction

In online education, specialized courses—from mathematics and physics to engineering and economics—depend heavily on mathematical equations. Incorporating these equations into course content enhances the learning experience for students. Fortunately, Open edX®, a leading open-source online learning platform, provides robust support for displaying mathematical notation. 

In this article, we'll explore the process of inserting mathematical equations into Open edX® courses using LaTeX, a powerful tool designed to create and present mathematical equations. Integration of LaTeX with Open edX makes it easy to create interactive mathematical content, enhancing the online learning experience significantly. Continuing on, we'll explore formula integration in more depth on the Open edX platform and wrap up by highlighting the unique advantages offered by this powerful platform.

Additionally, we'll highlight how Open edX-based solutions, like edSPIRIT, can easily empower researchers to create and share their own formulas. As educators and course creators strive to engage learners with mathematical expressions, the combined capabilities of Open edX and edSPIRIT emerge as a transformative force, revolutionizing how formulas are utilized in online courses.

Let's start the journey. 

Empowering Educators with Open edX

Open edX, known as an open-source platform for e-learning and extensive features, is a cornerstone for educators seeking to create dynamic and interactive online courses. With its user-friendly interface and versatile authoring tools, Open edX helps educators design engaging lessons that resonate with learners of all backgrounds and abilities.

Open edX's formula integration capabilities incorporate LaTeX, a powerful typesetting system renowned for its flexibility and precision. By leveraging LaTeX, educators can incorporate mathematical expressions into course content, ranging from simple equations to complex formulas. This enhances comprehension and engagement, enabling learners to grasp mathematical concepts.

Furthermore, Open edX provides educators with assessment tools to create quizzes and assignments that incorporate formulas, aligning with learning objectives and promoting student success.

How to Insert Mathematical Equations into Open edX? 

First scenario

If you are unfamiliar with formula editors, we advise you to use the simplest method: create your formula through Word! 

These are the steps:

1. Install MathType: This Formula editor will be installed on your Word and will allow you to create your own formulas. 

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2. After installing MathType, you can see it as a new tab in your Word studio. Once you click on the MathType tab, select Inline. Here, you can type your math formula, when done, simply close the window.

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3. After writing your formula, you have the following equation:

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4. Now click on Toggle TeX to see the formula’s LaTex format. 

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Note: Delete the $ signs from the beginning and end of your formula.

5. Now it's time to move this ready-to-use formula in Latex into Open edX Studio. In Open edX Studio, navigate to the desired unit of your course where you want to insert the equation. Create a Raw HTML text component or choose an existing one. Click on Edit.

6. Insert LaTeX Equation: Within the HTML text component, paste your LaTeX equation between the following tags. 

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This tells your component to render the enclosed LaTeX code as a mathematical expression. Our formula will be like: 

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And this is the Component view:

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You can now integrate any mathematical equation into your courses.

Second scenario

In this scenario, if you know about LaTeX editors, we'll explore how to make a sample equation using them. These online editors help you create and see your equations easily. If you're new to LaTeX editors, don't worry. The next scenario will start from scratch.

A typical LaTeX editor might have a similar toolbar to this:

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 Let's start with the formula below for our example: 

d = √ ((x₂ - x₁) ^2 + (y₂ - y₁) ^2)

When you start writing this formula in LaTeX, it is accurately represented in a concise and readable format like this:

d = (( y_{2} - y_{1} )^2+ ( \sqrt{( x_{2} - x_{1} )})^{2} )

The formula above is what your Open edX studio can read. Now that our LaTeX equation is ready, integrate it into an Open edX course. 

Note: Open edX utilizes MathJax, a JavaScript library, to render mathematical notation in HTML pages.

Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Locate or Create HTML Text Components: In Open edX Studio, navigate to the desired unit of your course where you want to insert the equation. Create a Raw HTML text component or choose an existing one. Click on Edit.
  2. Insert LaTeX Equation: Within the HTML text component, paste your LaTeX equation between [mathjax][/mathjax] tags. This tells MathJax to render the enclosed LaTeX code as a mathematical expression. Our formula will be like:

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MathJax will transform the LaTeX code into a beautifully formatted mathematical expression. Now, save your changes and preview the course to ensure the equation renders correctly. 

The steps are depicted in the video below; let's take a look at them.

Note: You can also insert equations in line with text using [mathjaxinline] [/mathjaxinline] tags around your formula.

Discover the Steps

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Take the Next Step: Elevate Your Courses with edSPIRIT

As educators and course creators continue to explore the possibilities of online learning, integrating formulas emerges as a powerful tool for covering more topics on a MOOC-based platform.

On the other hand, with Open edX as our trusted ally, we embark on a transformative journey to redefine the boundaries of online education. In this article, we explored how to enhance math learning experiences on Open edX by creating equations and formulas that help learners actively engage with mathematical concepts.

Regarding this journey, we introduce you to edSPIRIT, an Open edX-based platform for educators seeking to elevate their courses with mathematical expressions. It is good to know that the partnership between Open edX and edSPIRIT offers an unparalleled opportunity to unlock the full potential of formula integration. Together, these platforms provide educators with the tools and support to create dynamic and interactive learning experiences that empower learners to succeed. 

Empower yourself as a researcher and educator today by exploring the capabilities of Open edX and platforms like edSPIRIT. Together, we can create a better online learning experience and unlock the potential of every learner.

Visit our website today to learn more about how edSPIRIT can maximize your approach to online teaching and help you integrate formulas into your courses. With edSPIRIT's intuitive interface and advanced features, you can take your online courses to a new level and engage learners like never before.