This is a question for mathematics instructors: How do you feel about having solutions available for the exercises in a math textbook? What if the solutions are available on the internet?
Some colleges and universities have guidelines for how instructors should treat the possibility of cheating on homework (e.g. looking for solutions on the web rather than working problems out). I taught at about five different colleges and universities. Four of them had honor codes, which gave the instructor the luxury of giving students their assignments and instructions and assuming that they complied honestly, whether they did or not. It was up to the administration to sort out egregious problems and the students’ own consciences to deal with mild ones.
My favorite tactic was to simply make homework count for only a small part of the grade, and place more emphasis on in-class tests and quizzes. The homework is useful for studying, students could work together or work with a solution guide as they pleased.
And there is a third option: to give homework problems whose solutions are not available or very difficult to access online or in books. Is this the high ground approach, or is it simply impractical and too much trouble considering questionable benefits?
What do you think? Should textbooks contain solutions to problems, or should the problems only be made available to instructors in a separate manual, or online accessible only by password?
Featured Book of the Day
Integers, Fractions and Arithmetic by Judith Sally and Paul Sally. This book was co-published by the AMS and MSRI as part of a Math Circles Program for K-8 teachers. The book consists of twelve interactive seminars, and gives a comprehensive and careful study of the fundamental topics of K–8 arithmetic. The guide aims to help teachers understand the mathematical foundations of number theory in order to strengthen and enrich their mathematics classes.
I would describe the approach to exercises in this book as: use very few and explain the solutions carefully and completely.