I was talking to some of my students yesterday about their calculus courses, and several mentioned that they use the web site CalcChat.com. The site's home page says, "Step-by-step solutions to odd-numbered exercises." One student joked that she spent so much time on calcchat that she'd set it as the homepage of her browser. Can anyone provide any insight into how this site works? From casually clicking around on it, it looks like it will give students solutions to odd-numbered problems from a whole bunch of current math books, and they don't have to pay or register an account. There also appear to be provisions for talking to a tutor, although when I visited this morning, it said, "calc chat assistant: offline." What is their business model?
Is the site basically offering the equivalent of a student solutions manual, which the publisher would like to charge $100 for? Do the solutions appear to be the original work of the people who run the site, or are they cut and pasted from the publishers' solutions?
Can anyone offer any insights into how their students use the site, for good or for evil? I guess the common practice among textbook authors is to put answers to odd problems in the back of the book. Do many people here assign the odd problems for credit and check that their students have actually worked out the answers? If so, do they find themselves reading the same CalcChat solution over and over? In your experience, how does this compare or compete in terms of education with printed student solutions manuals from the publisher? How does it compare with Wolfram/Mathematica or other symbolic math software that can show the steps it used to get the solution?
Related: Students use WolframAlpha. Can we change calculus instruction to exploit it while discouraging 'cheating'?