I am an electrical engineering student who does a lot of courses after hours or via correspondence, and I don't often have the luxury of an in-class forum to ask questions or verify concepts, particularly in the area of mathematics.

I've been considering picking up a student license for Mathematica 8 and using it as a supplement to my course work as a homework-checker as well as to model a lot of the signal processing work I do in my professional life in telecommunications. A lot of the math I can check on my TI-89 (with Calculus Made Easy) as well as WolframAlpha, but from what I hear the other features in Mathematica will be useful in a lot of the more engineering specific courses, and they aren't present on the web version as far as I know.

What I'm wondering is if in your opinion it's valuable software for those kinds of applications, or if there would be a better package out there for me.

Thank you very much for your input!