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Reader Reactions: Our New Format

by Cynthia Ballheim, for the Editorial Panel
May / June 2001

During this volume year, Mathematics Education Dialogues has been published in a split format, with four pages inserted into the News Bulletin and the full essays on the Web. At the request of the Board of Directors, we asked our readers about this format of Mathematics Education Dialogues and found the following:

  • 68 percent prefer a print version,
  • 3 percent prefer an entirely Web version, and
  • 29 percent prefer the split format.

We also asked for suggestions to improve the split format of Mathematics Education Dialogues and received the following suggestions:

  • Include a table of contents for the print version and the Web version.
  • Have the Web version extend but not repeat the material in the print version.
  • Put more substance in the print version.
  • Include a photo for every entry.
  • Have the Web versions searchable by topic.
  • Have more issues of Dialogues.
  • No improvements are necessary.

Because the Web site currently has an area for monitored discussions and continued dialogues, we asked the readers about this feature. Regarding the monitored discussion—

  • 30 percent will not use this feature,
  • 25 percent will engage in the discussion,
  • 19 percent are not sure whether they will use it, and
  • 26 percent did not respond to this question.

The data indicate that readers who responded to our queries clearly prefer a print-only version of Mathematics Education Dialogues. After considerable discussion of the pros and cons of print, as opposed to electronic formats, the NCTM's Board of Directors decided to give the Web format another year to establish itself as a viable forum for discussion of important contemporary issues. But in response to our readers' comments, during this coming year the Editorial Panel will consider a return to a print-only version and will continue to monitor how readers make use of, and react to, the Web version.





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