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FAQs to Help you Get Started in Class

Considering Enrolling

What can I expect in a Keely math online class? How does it work?

The class is conducted fully-online asynchronously. For each week you will be expected to study the e-textbook, watch tutorial videos, learn from the Professor's online mini-lectures and examples, practice problems and take tests online. You can post any content questions you have anytime to the class discussion board. Prof. Keely is active in class and replies quickly to email or messages. She has been teaching online for over 20 years, has lots of resources to share, and is always willing to help :)

What's the difference between online and remote class? What does "asynchronous" mean?

An online class is conducted fully-online including tests. An online class is asynchronous meaning there are no real-time scheduled class meetings (ie. no Zoom). A remote class is conducted virtually and has a syncronous component (eg. scheduled class sessions in Zoom). The Clark Mathematics Dept. has a short video explaining these different formats at Remote? Online? Which format is right for me?.

Is taking an online class right for me?

Online classes don't work well for everyone. Some people learn best through face-to-face interaction or at least a remote virtual meeting with instructors and fellow students. In an online class all of the interaction takes place on a discussion boards and much of the learning is independent. While online classes provide you the freedom to complete educational goals while working and taking care of family responsibilities, they do require that you discipline yourself to meet course requirements and participate regularly. Clark eLearning Dept.'s How to be a Successful eStudent may help you decide if online classes will work well for you.

Which math class is right for me? When is it offered online?

Want to make sure that you are signing up for the right math class? Meet with an Academic Advisor or speak with any mathematics faculty member who can help you choose the right math class for you and your major. We are here to help make sure you are on the right path!

For what it's worth, I teach precalcus and calculus courses so my students are almost all STEM majors taking College Algebra (Math 111 or 110), then Trigonometry (Math 103), then the Calculus sequence starting with Calculus I (Math& 151).

If I decide to take the class: Do I have to logon at a specific time? Will I ever need to come to campus? Will I need a textbook? How are the assignments submitted? How are the tests conducted? How much help is available if I need it?

  • We do not meet in real time, not even virtually. There are no Zoom meetings. You never need to come to campus. The entire class is conducted online asynchronously.
  • Access to a Digital Learning Platform (DLP) is required. (Examples: MyMathLab, Knewton Alta, WebAssign)
  • The entire e-textbook is available online either inside your DLP or as free open educational resouces (OER), depending on course. Buying a physical textbook is unnecessary.
  • Rather than traditional weekly homework assignments, you are expected to work practice problems and master content objectives online in your DLP that count toward a large assignment due at the end of the term. DLP's have built-in instructional tools (eg. MyMathLab's "Help Me Solve This" feature) that will help you work through the problems step-by-step if needed.
  • All quizzes and the final exam are conducted online in your DLP. They are timed and have a set window of opportunity when you can access them.
  • Assignments are also conducted in CANVAS, usually as discussions on a discussion board. How many are required depends on course.
  • Lots of help is available from the professor (who is very active in class and responds quickly to email), your classmates, and the virtual tutoring center.

Waitlist & late add info

For answers to questions such as: I'm on the class waitlist, or, I was on the waitlist before it ended. What now? How do I add the class late, after the term has started? see Syllabus - waitlist & late add information.

Getting Started

Where should I start? What is the mandatory first-day class orientation?

There are two orientation requirements. On DAY #1 login to Canvas and enter your math class to secure day one attendance. By the end of DAY #2 post your introduction to the "Introduce Yourself" discussion board in Canvas.

IMore detail is provided in your class in Canvas (in the "Orientation - Start Here" module), but also, in case you want the information prior to your Canvas class opening for the term, at Prof. Keely's Mathematics Online Web >> "Orientation" tab.

What can I do to get a head start on the class before it starts?

I suggest you enjoy your break and not start class till the first day of the term but if you really want to get a bit of a head start before the term starts, see Prof. Keely's Mathematics Online Web >> "Orientation" tab.

What's the nitty-gritty of how the class works?

See Syllabus - Course Overview for an explanation of what to expect including a description of a typical day/week in the class.

How should I proceed through the course? Do you have any tips for success?

The class calendar is your guide to the course. It is built into your online classroom (FAQ - class calendar) and also available on my Math Online Web in the "Class Calendars" tab. It includes readings, assignments, assessments, and deadlines.

Best practice is to at least every other day ...

  1. In WAMAP, login to your class to check for any vital announcements or messages.

  2. In WAMAP, click the class calendar for that week to what material you should be studying. Note: There are two "units" of material per week in fall/winter/spring terms and three units per week in compressed terms, eg. summer term.

  3. In MML, read a section in the e-text and watch the tutorial video (if there is one).

  4. In MML, practice problems in your study plan for that section. Try to "master" the topic objectives in preparation for the quiz. Take advantage of the "help me solve this" feature as needed.

  5. In WAMAP, read all the new posts on the class discussion board for that week. Make comments as you like preferably with at least one post early in the week. You can respond to the Professor's posts with a comment/question, reply to other students, make new threads, ... anything may be eligible for participation points.

  6. In MML, towards the end of the week take the quiz over that week's material. Note: Compressed terms (eg. summer term) may have two quizzes in a week.
How to Succeed in an Online Course provides some general tips for success. What Makes a Successful Online Student is a more thorough article woth reading.

What are the first-week attendance requirements?

See MathOL Syllabus - Attendance Policy particularly the "Day #1-2" section.

Clark Student Email Information

How do I access my Clark Student Email account? Must I use my Clark Student Email address? Can I forward it to another email address? Can I email the Prof. from a different address?

Clark Student Email accounts (your @students.clark.edu address) are the official email accounts used by the College. To check/access your student email, login to Gmail and enter your full Clark Student Email Address (example: j.doe@students.clark.edu) and your password.

Your email address will (most likely) have the form j.doe@students.clark.edu (first initial, period, last name). FAQs about Clark Student Email includes set-up directions including how to forward Your Clark Student Email to a personal email account.

Note: When setting-up your Clark Student Email if you include a signature keep it academically appropriate. For example, do not include anything that may be inflammatory such as religious quotes, gang-related symbols, nudity, etc. Also, use your real name. Professors getting a bunch of email from, eg, "School" is terribly confusing, thanks.

When emailing the professor, use your Clark Student Email address ONLY! Email me from your official @students.clark.edu account only, not from a home email or other off-campus address. This assists me identify you as a current student and locate your records, assures you a quicker response, and helps protect your privacy. I will not respond to a student email sent from, nor write to a student at, an off-campus email address. I will provide the same courtesy by only emailing you at your Clark address from my Clark address. For specific format rules please see How do I email the professor? (e.g. subject line to use, etc.).

Courseware, Software, & Course Materials

What is a CMS = Course Management System?

A Course Management System (CMS) is an online learning system that provides the management of eLearning courses. The CMS is where you "go to class" online. The class site in the CMS typically contains course documents, provides a method for communication, and houses the gradebook. Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle are popular CMSs. Although there are slight differences, a CMS is often called a LMS = Learning Management System.

What is a DLP = Digital Learning Platfom (a.k.a. "platform")?

For our purposes a Digital Learning Platform (DLP), often refered to as simply the "platform", is an online course delivery system provided by the textbook publisher. Typically the DLP is where you read the e-textbook online, watch tutorial videos, work practice problems, complete homework, and take tests. Knewton Alta, MyMathLab (Pearson Publishing), and WebAssign (Cengage Publishing) are popular DLPs.

Which DLP will my class use?

The DLP is usually tied to the textbook used. A team of faculty determine which textbook/DLP is best for the course and its format. Thus different sections of the same course may use different DLPs. Currently all of my courses use MyMathLab except Math 110 which uses Knewton Alta. Both platforms provide a couple weeks free access and then require purchasing for $40-$70 per term.

What computer/technology skills am I expected to have before entering this online class?

REQUIRED: Basic computer and word processing skills (select, cut, copy, and paste text; work with documents and folders). Basic text formatting skills (bold, underline, fonts, highlight text). Basic internet skills (using email, attaching a file, using a browser, allowing cookies, clearing a browser's cache). Installing/updating software or plug-ins.

RECOMMENDED: Reading and posting messages on a threaded discussion board. Using screenshot software to produce a .gif, .jpg, or .png file.

DESIRED: Using an equation editor software to write mathematical notation. Using an online grapher to produce the graph of a function. Experience with a CMS and MyMathLab (or similar software).

What software and plug-ins do I need to access the course materials?


  1. A current version of Firefox, Google Chrome, Edge, or Safari browser.
  2. The latest version of Adobe Reader (free) is required to print some of the course materials (.pdf format).
  1. The online textbook includes video lessons that will require a video player browser plugin. MyMathLab's "browser check" will let you know if you have any missing video software. Run it when you first enter your class in MyMathLab.


  1. An office program (e.g. MS Office, OpenOffice) might be useful in some courses, but are definitely not mandatory. The Clark College Bookstore offers student versions of MS Office at a reasonable cost.
  2. Some supplemental resources may use Java. There can be security concerns with Java so certainly don't download it unless you need it. You can check to see if you hve the latest version of Java installed in your browser -- click here to test. If you want to update see java.com/en/download (free).

My computer won't open the link to a PDF file.

To view a PDF file you need the current version of Adobe Reader (free download). Be sure your Adobe Reader is updated!

If your computer won't open the link by clicking the link to the file, try cut-and-pasting the URL into your browser. (You may have to right click and "copy link location" to access the URL.)

Another option is to save the file to your desktop and open directly from there. Mac's in particular sometimes have difficulty opening PDF documents within a browser and will require this method instead. Use this method too if you can open the PDF but experience oddities like missing math symbols. To save the PDF file to your desktop:

  • PC users: right click the link, choose "save link as", and download to your desktop.
  • MAC users: hold down the option key, click the link, and download to your desktop

Do I need to buy MyMathLab access if I already have the hard copy textbook?

Yes, unless it came bundled with your textbook. You do need access to MyMathLab as all the quizzes and exams are conducted in MyMathLab. See free temporary MML access.

Do I need to buy the physical textbook in addition to MyMathLab?

No. You do need MyMathLab access, but the entire textbook is available online as an e-text inside MyMathLab so buying a physical textbook too is optional and unnecessary unless you really want one. Most MyMathLab e-textbooks are printable too in case you need a chapter printed to use while traveling, for instance.