I took an online graduate course in advanced engineering mathematics last fall. The instructor said I could use my TI-Nspire CAS (Computer Algebra System) graphing calculator. Here is the e-mail dialogue I exchanged with her after she dinged me on the second of three examinations for omitting work steps.
Me: "My graphing calculator performed the operations that appeared mysterious in Exam 2 so I am wondering if I can recover any points with that clarification."
Her: "I suspected this, but wasn't sure. I didn't really know that your calculator could find residues. By using it to find residues and simplify the expression, you circumvented almost all of the hard parts of the problem. There is definitely value in knowing how to use the tools at your disposal to solve problems, but throughout this section of the material the intention was really for you to be practicing these complex calculations so I won't give you full credit for the pieces where the calculator did the majority of the work."
Me: "I meant that I entered the formula from the worksheet and the variable values and the calculator ran the numbers for me, not that it had the function built into its firmware."
Her: "After thinking more about it, I still feel that you didn't show me enough of your thought process or what parts of the problem you did for me to give you full credit for the problem. I'm sorry, but make sure you write more down in the future so that I can see what you're doing."
After this I made sure I stated clearly in writing on the final examination where and how I used the graphing calculator!
(Edited by Luke Setzer on 7/10, 9:05am)