Janet Bickham
Professor of Mathematics
Pinnacle Campus

 


 

Instructions for Getting Started with the PLATO Academic Systems Algebra Software

 


Installation and Tutorials

 

For FREE technical support (M-F 7am to 6pm Central Time), call 1-800-869-2200 and wait on the line to speak to someone.  Or go to http://support.plato.com/contact/index.asp. Then under Academic Systems Algebra on the right side of the page, click on "Support Request Form," complete the form, and then click on "Submit Request" at the bottom of the form.  You should receive a reply within 1 business day.  You may also find helpful info at http://support.plato.com/ or http://support.plato.com/asalgebra.

To use the new PLATO Academic Systems Algebra program, you should not need to install any software from a CD. It will run from within your web browser, using Macromedia Flash and Adobe Acrobat software plugins (which can be downloaded for free off the internet, if necessary). When you run the program for the first time, you may be prompted to install certain software (Flash and maybe Acrobat), to which you should answer Yes. You can use this software from any web browser and computer that meets the minimum requirements, as long as you have your PLATO Account Login (ACC), PLATO Name (your 8-digit ACCeID, which is your first initial followed immediately by your full 7-digit student ID number, including any zeroes at the beginning of your student ID to make it 7 digits), and Password (the word STUDENT). If you can log in to the PLATO website, but nothing happens when you click to open one of the lessons, check to make sure any popup-blockers are disabled (or at least disabled for "this site only", which is asalgebra.platoweb.com).

To begin working in the PLATO Academic Systems Algebra computer program, you must go to https://asalgebra.platoweb.com/ and log in there with the information provided in the paragraph above. Before you get too far, however, you should view the following video on how to use the software:

         Academic Systems Algebra Student Orientation Tutorial

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you open the cellophane wrapper on your book, go ahead and log in using the information provided above and begin working with the software. When you first start, the computer will ask for your validation code. For a while, you can click on "Remind me later" and continue working in the software. You can even view the material in your textbook on a section-by-section basis if you click on Tools, then Personal Academic Notebook, from within the tutorial program. You should do this until you are certain that you are in the correct level math course and that a distance learning math course and a computer math course is the best choice for you, which means that you will not need to withdraw or transfer to a different section. Be aware that you need to make these decisions as quickly as possible because you only have a limited time to change courses or sections without losing some or all of your tuition. Within about 2-3 weeks, the computer program will ask you again to enter your validation code and the "Remind me later" button will no longer be available. At that point, you must enter your validation code. That number is included in a folded sturdy card attached inside your book. In order to work, it must not have ever been used by any other student. Therefore, you must buy a NEW (not used) book. Be careful not to lose the validation code - if you lose it, you will have to buy another book and therefore license to use the computer software.

So, in summary, when you first try to view an Assignment or Lesson online, you will see a window like the following asking you to input your validation code:

DO NOT ENTER THIS NUMBER NOW. Just go ahead and click on the "Remind me later" button for now.

 

You should only fill this in later, during the second or third week of class, when you are certain you are in the right level course and that a distance learning, computer math course is right for you (if you need to change courses or sections for any reason, please do so as soon as possible because time for doing so is very limited). About 2-3 weeks into the semester, you will no longer be able to click on "Remind me later". Be sure you keep the sturdy card that's attached inside your textbook that has your validation code in it; if you lose it and cannot enter your validation number at the appropriate time, you will have to buy another textbook and license for the software.

Once you have logged in and viewed the tutorial above, you may begin by viewing the optional "Getting Started" lesson. (Click on the "Assignments" button in the upper left part of the screen, then click on the "Open" button with a picture of an open box next to it, then click on the lettered box "A", and finally click on the link to Getting Started below the lettered boxes. If you have everything already set up, you may be able to go directly to this lesson by itself here. You will still need to log in to view other lessons, however.) This will walk you through how to use the actual math and tutorial parts of the software.

To do a lesson:

         Open the PLATO Academic Systems Algebra website at https://asalgebra.platoweb.com and log in using the Account Login (ACC), your PLATO Name (your 8-digit ACCeID, which is your first initial followed immediately by your full 7-digit student ID number, including any zeroes at the beginning of your student ID to make it 7 digits), and your Password (the word STUDENT).

         Click on the "Assignments" button in the upper left part of the screen.

         Click on the "Open" button with a picture of an open box next to it.

         This should open the last lesson you were working on. Click on the lettered and smaller numbered buttons ("blocks") below them to navigate through the lessons. Please refer to your Weekly Schedule posted at http://www.austincc.edu/jbickham/handouts to determine which blocks correspond to which lessons. The blocks are in the same order as the lessons in your Weekly Schedule.

         To exit the program while in a lesson, be sure to click on the "Exit" button (with an X on it) at the bottom left of the lesson screen. Then when it asks if you are sure you want to exit, click on "Yes." Click on "Back" on the next web page to get back to the screen with the blocks on it. And finally, click on the "Logout" button in the upper right portion of that web page when you are ready to quit. When it asks if you are sure you want to log out, click "OK," and that should take you back to the login screen. If you do not do this, your work may not be saved and you may have to do all of the work again.

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Resources

 

If you have questions or problems, the following might be useful to you:

         Academic Systems Algebra Student Orientation Tutorial

         Resources for using Academic Systems Algebra - There is a lot more information here, including information on how to use the built-in Equation Editor and other tutorials. This can be accessed from inside the program by clicking on "Home" at the upper right of the page with all of the lettered and numbered boxes, and then clicking on "Resources" in the Communications & Orientation box in the lower left part of the Home page.

         For FREE technical support (M-F 7am to 6pm Central Time), call 1-800-869-2200 and wait on the line to speak to someone.  Or go to http://support.plato.com/contact/index.asp. Then under Academic Systems Algebra on the right side of the page, click on "Support Request Form," complete the form, and then click on "Submit Request" at the bottom of the form.  You should receive a reply within 1 business day.  You may also find helpful info at http://support.plato.com/ or http://support.plato.com/asalgebra.

         Academic Systems Algebra Orientation Webpage

         Detailed Computer Setup Information (including information on firewalls and popup blockers)

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Finding Your Way Around in the Software

Once you have logged in, if you click on the "Assignments" button in the upper left part of the screen, then click on the "Open" button with a picture of an open box next to it, you will return to the screen of the lesson that you most recently were working on (please note that these next 3 screens are for an Elementary Algebra class but will be similar to the screens for Basic Math and Intermediate Algebra classes):

With all of the different letters and numbers here, it can get a little confusing about which section you are actually looking at. Click on the lettered and smaller numbered buttons ("blocks") below them to navigate through the lessons. Please refer to your Weekly Schedule posted at http://www.austincc.edu/jbickham/handouts to determine which blocks correspond to which lessons. The blocks are in the same order as the lessons in your Weekly Schedule. So, in this example, section 2.3 in Elementary Algebra (sorry, but not in Basic Math or Intermediate Algebra - we just don't have pictures for these courses) would correspond with Software Blocks C-4 in the Weekly Schedule. This is actually the section displayed in the picture above. To make that a little clearer, take a look at the picture below (please note again that these screenshots are for an Elementary Algebra class but will be similar to the screens for Basic Math and Intermediate Algebra classes, and actually section 2.3 in Elementary Algebra no longer corresponds with Software Blocks C-4):

As you can see, C-4 means to first choose letter C in the top row, then click on number 4 below that. The chapters match up with the letters like this (please note once again that these screens are for an Elementary Algebra class but will be similar to the screens for Basic Math and Intermediate Algebra classes):

The row of numbers underneath is sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, depending on how many sections there are in each chapter. If this seems a little confusing, most of us probably agree. Hopefully, someday they will make this clearer. However, as you start using the software for a while, you should get used to it pretty quickly.

(P.S.: The "Exercise Set 2.3" highlighted in a red box at the bottom left of that page is an extra REQUIRED Handout for section 2.3 you must download and work through as well. You may find all required handouts and reviews for all tests, including the final exam, posted at http://www.austincc.edu/jbickham/handouts.)

 

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Important Points to Remember

 

         To exit the program while in a lesson, be sure to click on the "Exit" button (with an X on it) at the bottom left of the lesson screen. Then when it asks if you are sure you want to exit, click on "Yes." Click on "Back" on the next web page to get back to the screen with the blocks on it. And finally, click on the "Logout" button in the upper right portion of that web page when you are ready to quit. When it asks if you are sure you want to log out, click "OK," and that should take you back to the login screen. If you do not do this, your work may not be saved and you may have to do all of the work again.

         If nothing happens when you click on "Open" next to the picture of the open box, make sure you have your popup-blocker disabled (or at least disabled "for this site only," which is asalgebra.platoweb.com). If you use any other Ad-blocking software, you will probably need to turn that off as well, at least "for this site only." (Also, be sure Cookies and Javascript are enabled, at least "for this site only.")

         SAVE your Validation Code until you have entered it into the system; if you do NOT save it, you will have to buy another copy of the software/book.

         Always ignore the "Offline Homework Assignment" given from inside the software. Remember that your written homework assignment is the one provided in your Weekly Schedule posted at http://www.austincc.edu/jbickham/handouts (this replaces the offline homework problems assigned by the computer). You should work all assigned problems from your book and required handouts listed in the Weekly Schedule on notebook paper, show all work, and turn in by their due dates. Please refer to the Homework section of the First Day Handouts posted at http://www.austincc.edu/jbickham/handouts for more information.

         If you are having trouble logging in or viewing the tutorials on one computer, try logging in from another computer or going to one of the ACC Learning Labs and logging in from there (don't forget to take your Account Login, PLATO Name, Password, and the login web address with you - please read through this web page again to find them). Despite the official "minimum computer requirements", the software seems to run fine on other web browsers (such as Firefox) and on other operating systems besides Windows (Mac OS X works for some), so if Internet Explorer is not working for you, try a different browser. Since the lessons have spoken explanations, you will need to be sure you can listen to the audio, either over headphones or your computer speakers.

 

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Special thanks to Marcus McGuff for creating much of these web pages for ACC faculty and for letting us edit them to fit the needs of our classes.

 


 


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Visit other ACC websites: ACC Home Page, ACC Open Campus (Distance Learning) Home Page, or ACC Math Dept Home Page


Last Updated August, 2008
Copyright 2008, Austin Community College
Send comments and questions to Janet Bickham: jbickham@austincc.edu