General Qs about Class, Materials, & Class Participation (CPRs):
- Contacting the Professor:
- Times, Deadlines, and Holidays:
- Course Materials and Grades:
- Class Participation (CPRs):
- Plagiarism and Citing Sources:
How do I email the
The best way to reach me privately is by email.
To email Prof. Keely:
FROM: your Clark Student Email address (your @students.clark.edu only!)
SUBJECT LINE: be descriptive and include the course number (e.g. "Math 100 - quiz 3").
BODY OF MESSAGE: include your full name
I teach several online classes and can get hundreds of emails a day. Abiding by the format above will assist me in identifying you as a current student, locating your records, and assure you a quick response. I don't want to miss a single one of your important messages! I will only reply to your Clark Student Email and to no other email address.
Always use your Clark Student Email when emailing your professors. (See FAQs - Info about Clark Student Email Accounts.)
Keep your academic communications professional and polite. You are expected to treat your classmates, your professor, and all college employees with respect and civility.
Guidelines for Writing an E-mail to a Professor is a useful blog post especially if you are new to email communications in an academic setting.
What are the professor's office hours?
See contact Prof. Keely for contact information, office class schedule, and office hour times.
I do not hold scheduled office hours. (I teach as an adjunct thus not contracted to hold office hours.)
FALL-WINTER-SPRING terms: I hold regular
online office hours and may also have on-campus office hours per my schedule.
ONLINE OFFICE HOURS are held in Twiddla, a live chat room with whiteboard. It is free, easily accessible from any browser (on a computer or mobile device), and does not require an account. See schedule and link to virtual meeting room at contact.sallykeely.com.
If you can't meet during a scheduled office hour or if it is summer term I can meet a real-time online chat by appointment. Email me
to arrange an appointment time.
Note too that tutors are available to assist you on-campus in the STEM Help Centers and online (eTutoring.org).
When is the professor online/offline? When can I expect a reply?
I am active in online classrooms and the discussion boards 50+ hours a week.
I keep the class informed of any schedule abnormalities through class announcements via Twitter.
EMAIL: I check email continually throughout the day (and often night) 6 days a week. I will reply to (properly sent, see above) email usually within a few hours, certainly within 24 hours. I try to not check email on Sunday.
DISCUSSION BOARDS: I am on the discussion boards at least once (usually 2-3 times) a day 5+ days a week. I try to take Sunday or Monday completely off the boards.
I typically post mini-lectures and examples to the boards by Monday morning and again by Wednesday morning each week.
I read every discussion board post within 48 hours, but do not respond to every one. When feasible I try to give other students time to respond before I weigh in.
DQs will be graded usually within 24 hours of their due date/time.
Starting in week 3 (by which time students should be taking a more proactive role in class) there may be discussion board threads to which I do not respond at all unless they contain a specific question or glaring error.
Also, I may never add comment to messages posted at the end of the week (i.e. on Saturday) so don't procrastinate.
OFFICE HOURS: See FAQs - Prof's Office Hours.
To what time zone do the deadlines refer?
All deadline due times are Pacific time.
What time is meant by a midnight
A "midnight" deadline means 11:59 pm that evening. For
example, "due by midnight Friday" means "due by 11:59 pm Friday evening".
(I know technically this is imprecise, but I'm adopting the colloquial use of
What day of the week is the end of the week?
When grading class participation a "day" is from 12:00 am to
11:59 pm and a "week" is from 12:00 am (early) Sunday morning to 11:59 am (before noon) on the
following Saturday afternoon. Note the "dead zone" below.
What is the "dead zone"? Can I post during it?
The 12-hour period from noon to midnight Saturday (12:00 pm to 11:59 pm) is considered a "dead zone" in that messages posted to the discussion boards during this period are NOT eligible for class participation, attendance, or online presence. (You can post, but the posts won't count for CPR points.) Posts made in the dead zone might not get a reply (not many students are on the boards). This time is used by the professor to double-check and record class participation points for the week and update the gradebook.
Note: During the last week of class CPRs end early and the dead zone starts early (Thursday in summer and Friday in FWS due to the college requirement to conclude classroom activities on the "last day of class"). See your class calendar (unit 10B) for specific CPR deadline.
Why do CPRs for the week end at noon?
The primary reason for the noon deadline for CPRs (class participation points) is that when it was set at the same time as the quiz deadline a lot of people posted near that deadline and these posts tended to go unread. They were not contributing to the ongoing conversations, engaging the class as a whole, or helping anyone prepare for the quiz. So I moved that deadline a few hours up to encourage people to post while there was still time for others to respond before the end of the week. I do realize this is not the most convenient time for everyone, but after years of trying various deadlines, the noon time seems to be the best for the collaborative nature of the class as a whole.
What happens if I have technical difficulties and
miss a deadline?
Late work earns zero credit!
Tests, CPRs, DQs, etc. cannot be made up even in the event of
technical difficulties. So, don't procrastinate just in case! If
any class web goes down for a significant length of time, I might extend
deadlines, and if so, will inform you via private email, but that is extremely
Also see What happens if I get
locked out of the quiz?
Does this online class meet in when Clark College
is closed (e.g., holiday, inclement weather closure)?
Yes, when Clark College is closed for a holiday or emergency (due to inclement weather, electrical outage, emergency
situation, etc.), the online classes still
run as usual and all due dates are maintained (no extensions). An excellent place to get updated emergency/weather
closure information is www.pdxinfo.net.
Does this online class meet during Thanksgiving holiday week?
NO! Since this online class meets on two days in fall term when on-campus classes do not (faculty workday in October and Veteran's Day in November) then we can take two days off during Thanksgiving week to compensate. Those two along with the three days that on-campus classes already take off during Thanksgiving week mean we can take the entire week off and still meet the same total number of days that the college requires of all 5-credit classes in fall term. Doing so allows us to maintain consistent quiz deadlines from week to week (so you are less likely to miss a deadline due to an odd schedule).
So, during Thanksgiving week (Sunday through Saturday, see your class calendar for specific dates) this online class will be on a Thanksgiving holiday week during which there will be NO new material, no class requirements, no required participation, no assignments, no tests. You may post to the holiday week board but questions may not be answered in a timely manner (I will be offline most of the week) and posts will not count toward CPRs. Go enjoy your week off with family and friends and maybe do some review for the final exam.
Where is the Class Calendar?
Your online classroom (in your CMS) is organized into weekly units or "blocks" as shown below. Click the "Study Unit #" to go to the Class Calendar for that unit's material.
If you want direct access to the Class Calendar without having to enter your classroom at that particular moment, every week/unit is linked from my website for your convenience. Go to Math Online Web and click the CLASS CALENDARS tab.
What are the "Lesson Notes"?
I have Lesson Notes for each topic in the course linked from the class calendar. These notes contain a brief overview of the topic, objectives that serve as a checklist so that you know all that you should learn before the quiz, some important terminology, and sometimes some supplemental resources or readings. They help to guide you a bit through the topic. If you don't want to read them you don't have to but they are there just in case.
BTW, the lesson notes have generic numbers. They are not necessarily the same number as the section in the e-text. They are topic based and intended to be independent of any specific textbook.
What exactly is the homework in this class?
This class has NO graded textbook assignments or traditional homework. Instead points are earned from class
participation (CPRs on the weekly discussion board), quizzes, and exams (see Math Online
Syllabus - Points Chart).
However, success in mathematics requires regular practice,
so you should work daily practice problems. I recommend that in each section you work the tutorial exercises suggested in your MyMathLab Study Plan until you achieve "mastery". Take advantage of the self-help features such as "show me an example" and "help me solve this". But these exercises have no due dates,
are not graded, and do not
earn points (directly). See What is the "Study Plan" in MyMathLab?
The time you invest in regularly practicing problems will pay off on the tests which have the
same type of questions written in the same format.
You are all adults with complicated schedules (the last thing you need is "busy work"). You know that in order to
succeed in a math class you have to find the time to actually work math
problems on a regular basis and I'm not going to "force" you to do that.
Whether you do or not will be evident on the quizzes!
Will the course materials be available throughout
the course or be taken down?
Most of the course materials are available to
participating students throughout the term. Exceptions include worksheets, formula sheets, and some handouts which may only be available
during the week in which they are listed on the calendar.
The discussion boards
will be available throughout the course. However, access to images housed off the Clark server or links to external sites cannot be guaranteed including examples that may appear to be embedded in a DB message but are actually links to external image files.
If I withdraw from the course can I still access the course
No. If you withdraw from or stop attending the course your
access to the CMS, MyMathLab, and all other course materials will be discontinued.
See also How can I access MML after the class ends?.
Why isn't there any extra credit points available?
College students are expected to complete the content as required
by the course curriculum and syllabus. It is considered a higher-ed “best practice”
to grade all students in the course on the same assessments uniformly. Therefore, I do
not offer nor accept formal extra credit assignments. Be consistent in your
work throughout the course, earn the points available, and you won't need
extra credit :)
What do A,B,C letter grades really mean?
A = Clearly stands out as excellent performance. Accomplishes far more than the minimum requirements. Has unusually sharp insight into material and initiates thoughtful questions. Integrates ideas previously learned from this and other disciplines. Anticipates next steps in progression of ideas. Rarely makes any mistakes. “A” work is of such a distinguished caliber that it could be put on reserve for all students to review and emulate.
B = Grasps subject matter at a level considered to be very good. Accomplishes more than the minimum requirements. Is an active listener and participant in class discussion. Articulates subject matter well both verbally and in written form. "B" work indicates a high quality of performance and consistently solid work. Earning a "B" should be considered a high grade.
C = Demonstrates a satisfactory comprehension of the subject matter. Accomplishes the minimum course requirements and objectives. Communicates the subject matter at an acceptable level for a college student. Has a generally adequate understanding of all basic concepts. "C" work represents average work and is the most common grade earned.
What is the difference between "attendance", "online presence", and
Attendance in class means logging into your CMS
class and reading the discussion board postings. You must do this at least 3
days per week to avoid grade penalties. Online presence means making
your presence known to the class by posting messages on the main classroom
discussion board regularly. See Math Online Syllabus - Attendance and
Online Presence Policies for details.
Participation is a graded component. It involves making
specific contributions to the class discussions (see CPRs in next question)
Whereas you are penalized for neglecting attendance and online
presence, you are rewarded for regular class participation which earns you
What are the class participation requirements
(CPR) and what does "substantive" mean?
Class Participation is a major part of your overall
grade. The success of this course is reliant on the interactivity on the
weekly discussion boards. Much of the learning in our online
classroom occurs through discussions
on these board. You are expected to actively participate in the discussions throughout the week. For full CPR points for the week you need 4 posts over any 3 days including substantive responses to both DQs. More details are Math Online Syllabus - Participation and in the next few FAQs.
A "substantive" message is one that is
relevant to and significantly advances the discussion. For the specific criteria that must be met for a message to be considered substantive see
Math Online Syllabus - Substantive.
What is the minimum number/type of posts I must make
to earn full participation points?
Making the full class participation points each week is not
hard and the level of activity required not only will help you be more
involved in the class but will increase the level of collaborative learning
which is the key to a successful online class!
Your goal should be to participate in the discussions every other day. Starting in week 2, for full CPR points for the week you need 4 posts over any 3 days including substantive responses to both DQs per the Math Online Syllabus - Class Participation Requirements (CPRs).
Here is an example that would earn the full
- Sunday post a substantive "S" response to DQ #A.
- Wednesday post a
substantive "S" response to DQ #B.
- Friday post two quick "R" tagged messages, neither have to be substantive, for example: a reply to a classmate, helping a student with a question from
last week's quiz in the "Quiz # thread", a follow-up question/comment to one of Prof. Keely's posts, a new thread with a content-related question to the class.
Viola, that would earn the full
10 points! 4 posts (tagged S, S, R, R), over any 3 days, including earning "S" tags on each DQ. Easy!
Remember, CPRs end noon Saturday. (FAQ - meaning of "week")
How are posts tagged
as substantive or not (i.e. tagged S, R, or X)?
Tagging a message as "substantive" or not is solely at my
discretion. A post gets tagged:
- "S" for substantive DQ response. To be substantive a message must satisfy all five criteria listed at Math Online Syllabus - Substantive.
- "R" for a regular (non-DQ) post that does count toward the "4 posts over any 3 days" requirement for CPRs
- "X" for posts that do not count at all. See next FAQ for examples.
My post got an "X" tag. What does that mean?
An "X" tag means that post will not count at all toward CPRs, online presence, nor attendance. Only "S" and "R" tagged posts count toward CPRs.
A post might get an "X" tag if: the message essentially duplicates a previously posted comment, from the message it is clear that you have not read all the previously posted messages in that thread, it appears you are posting just for the sake of making points (e.g. routinely posting only in the last few hours of the week), the message contains whining or venting, the message basically just says "Thanks", "Got it", "I agree", "Me too", or asks "How do you
do #15?" without including the steps you have tried so far. Posting just a worked out problem (see next FAQ) is likely to get "X" tagged. Lastly, logistic (e.g., Where is the assignment?), technical (e.g.,
How do I download ...), or social messages (e.g., Happy Birthday!) get "X" tagged.
Can I just post some worked-out problems?
No, not in this class. Posting just a worked-out problem is not conducive to an engaging class discussion and is likely to get "X" tagged. (In fact a slew of them starts to seem annoyingly like "busy work".) We can all already see worked out problems in the e-text.
However, if you have a question about, for instance, a study plan problem you are working on, sure post it so you can get assistance. (Don't post questions from open quizzes though, wait till after their due date/time to post to the "Quiz # thread".)
If you are going to ask about a study plan problem on the discussion board the best way is
to start a new thread with a description of the problem in the subject line, e.g. "Section 4.2 finding LCD". State the entire problem and any starting steps you might have taken. Including a screenshot of the original problem is a particularly helpful. If you can describe what you are struggling with or where you are getting tripped-up. These types of things can be useful to everyone and engage the class in collaborative learning.
Can I reply to an existing thread or do I have to start my own?
CPR points can be earned by posts that are replies to a post/thread made by the professor, replies to a post/thread made by another student, or in thread that you yourself start. The idea is to simply have a conversation about mathematics problems just as you would in a group discussion in an on-campus mathematics class.
Why does this class require participation on the
All of Clark College's mathematics online courses require "at least 1/3 of the grade come from asynchronous discussion so as to enable frequent and ongoing quality communication and collaboration and to insure integrity of the work submitted and grade/degree earned."
As in a my on-campus classes which involve daily group work,
my online classes are designed on a collaborative learning model with the discussion boards at its heart. For the class to be successful every member should read and contribute to the discussions at least every other day. This is your class and it is you that can make it all that it can be. Your online learning community needs regular feeding ;-}
on the boards enhances your critical thinking skills,
a major goal of the College's quantitative requirement and in my professional
experience the most beneficial aspect of the online learning environment. Explaining a problem
to a classmate is a good way to clarify the problem solving process in your own head.
Employers ask college faculty to provide opportunities to solve
quantitative problems collaboratively to prepare students for a changing work
environment where team work and shared workload are major components. Employers find those graduates who attain these skills to be better critical thinkers and problem solvers even when the job is non-math related. The
discussion board component of this
online class allows you to practice those skills in a supportive team environment.
This class is designed to Quality Matters standards and adheres to best practices for online STEM courses which include a strong asynchronous discussion component.
PS. Even University of Phoenix Online, not well known for quality classes, requires 8 substantive posts over 3 days each week for class participation, so be happy that this class is half that number ;-p
I have nothing substantive to add. What should I post to
earn participation points?
The discussion board is a collaborative-learning forum
where we discuss mathematics together interactively. It is like being in a
learning team or study group in an on-campus math class where students and
instructor have supportive
relevant discussions about mathematical concepts, processes, and problems.
Just as your comments in a face-to-face group would significantly add to the
discussion, so should your posts online. Just as during a face-to-face
conversation you would be thinking about what you might say to add to the
discussion, do the same as you read the discussion board threads. I
trust that you do have something relevant to add. For motivation see
Why does this class require participation?
The bottom line: It is your choice to post or not, to earn
the full participation points each week or not. But the effect of
not substantively posting regularly hurts the class collaborative learning
experience and your grade in the long run. Why not make the most of this
opportunity? You can do it! This class is only as successful as you make it!
How are DQs graded? What does it take to earn full points?
Discussion Questions (DQs) are worth 3 points each toward CPRs with limited partial credit granted.
DQs will be graded within 24 hours of their due date (usually much sooner) possibly with comment provided in post's private feedback. After grading the thread will open for further conversations.
- 3 points earned for responses that answer the discussion question, are properly posted by the deadline, and meet all five criteria for substantive posts.
- 2 points earned for substantive responses that are posted on time but contain an error (e.g. inaccurate statement, notation error, incorrect terminology, etc.) or notable omission.
- 1 or 0 points earned for responses that contain major or multiple errors, contain substantial omissions, or do not meet the minimum word count requirement.
- Late posts earn 0 points toward DQs, but are still eligible for CPR credit.
Can I post DQ responses late for partial credit?
No, no late work is accepted. Shortly after the DQ due date/time the thread will open so everyone can see everyone else's responses. It would not be fair to then allow a posting for substantive DQ credit. However you can post a reply to another student's DQ message and earn "R" tag credit toward CPRs for that week.
Can I "make-up" CPR points?
The discussions that go on in class throughout the week (and earn CPR points) are like discussions in an on-campus class. You can't add comments to a class discussion you missed (or didn't attend) after the fact, they wouldn't be interactive nor relevant. So, no, you can't "make-up" CPRs.
What etiquette guidelines must I follow when posting to the class discussion boards?
When posting a message to the class discussion boards use good threaded discussion "netiquette" such as:
- Focus on one subject or problem per message.
- Use appropriate clear subject lines.
- Reply to messages within that thread and start new threads for new topics only.
- Keep purely social conversations on the student lounge board.
- Be professional, courteous, constructive, friendly, and supportive. Think before you hit send!
- Avoid using all caps since it is generally viewed as SHOUTING.
- Use humor carefully. The absence of face-to-face cues can cause statements to be misinterpreted as criticism or flaming.
- Using emoticons such as :) or ;-} may help you express your feelings.
- Flaming (angry, antagonistic criticism) will not be tolerated!!! Let's all treat each other with respect.
- Give credit where credit is due. Cite all quotes, references, and sources.
- Do not include religious or political statements or references in your message including your signature.
[These guidelines were adapted from: Rinaldi, Arlene, "The Net User Guidelines and Netiquette", Florida Atlantic University, 1994.]
What does "HTH" mean and other internet acronyms?
HTH = Hope That Helps. You will see this and other internet
acronyms come up sometimes in class postings and emails. A useful site for
looking-up internet acronyms with which you are unfamiliar with is acronyms.silmaril.ie. Just type in the acronym like HTH and then
hit "search for an acronym". acronyms.thefreedictionary.com also has a good list of common acronyms with search engine.
What can I do to avoid plagiarism (including of images) in postings?
To avoid plagiarism you must cite all sources used in your post including graphics. Do not copy-and-paste into a post from another source.
Instead put the information into your own words. See Clark College Cannell Library "Plagiarism and How to Avoid It" for more information. If you share an image in the classroom that you did not create yourself you MUST cite it's URL or original source.
What is the proper way to cite
resources (including electronic) in postings?
A nice summary of the correct formats is available at Clark College Cannell Library "Citing Sources". You should follow
either MLA or APA style citation formats. The
uses a simple web form to help you format MLA or APA style citations.
Is it allowable to cite Wikipedia or other wiki sites as a source?
No, wiki sites are not academically viable. Wikipedia.com and other
non-academic resources (ask.com, answers.yahoo.com, infoplease.com, etc.) may provide
a jumping-off place for
your research, but you may not rely on these sites exclusively since the
authors are anonymous and the information posted does not come under a formal
oversight or peer-review process and thus may not be accurate. You are
responsible for the accuracy of any facts you present and
you should confirm the veracity of information you find on non-academic
sources through further research and then include the corroborating site in
your research citations.