Friday, August 9, 2013

Whitworth professor of mathematics and computer science co-authors AP edition of popular calculus textbook


Dr. Lyle Cochran
Lyle Cochran, professor of mathematics and computer science at Whitworth, is hard at work on a high-school AP calculus book, as well as a second edition of his first college calculus book, which was published in January 2010 by Pearson. Both editions are set to come out this fall. Additionally, an interactive e-textbook will be released in conjunction with the print edition. Visit Pearson's website to learn more about the series.

Cochran wrote the series with University of Colorado (Denver) Professor of Mathematics William Briggs, University of Colorado (Boulder) Senior Instructor of Mathematics Bernard Gillett, and Walla Wall Community College instructor Eric Schulz. “Like the college texts, the AP edition is geometric and intuitive,” says Cochran. “I think it is student-friendly, and we hope it will be well-received.”

The publishing company approached Cochran and the other authors about creating an AP edition after high school instructors expressed a desire for a similar textbook for their students.

 According to Pearson’s website, the college-level edition is the most successful new calculus text published in the last two decades. Nearly 300 colleges and universities have adopted the college-level edition, including larger universities such as Ohio State, Clemson, Oregon State, and Central Florida.

The series has been successful for several reasons, Cochran says. “We designed the book to be geometric and intuitive so that the ideas of calculus are easier to understand. Very often, a well-crafted illustration will help students understand the challenging concepts of calculus, so we spent a significant amount of time creating hundreds of figures for the textbook.” The book is also well-written, says Cochran, who points to Briggs as a key driver in crafting a highly effective narrative to accompany the books.

Cochran, who joined the Whitworth faculty in 1995, says he enjoys writing textbooks almost as much as he enjoys teaching. “It is satisfying to know in some small way I’m helping students beyond Whitworth learn calculus,” he says. He adds, referring to his co-authors, “On one level, I’m proud of the text, but on another level it is humbling to work with such talented people.”