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 Getting Started | General Info & CPRs | WAMAP | MyMathLab | Math Notation, Graphing, & Resources

Getting Started Questions:

Getting Started Q&A

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

Considering taking an online math class with Prof. Keely? Wondering how it works? See What to Expect in Prof. Keely's Math Online Class.

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 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. See Clark eLearning Dept.'s Is eLearning Right For Me? to 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? See Which Math Course is Right for Me?. A Clark College Advisor or any mathematics faculty member 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!

If I decide to take the class: Will I ever need to come to campus? Will I need a textbook? How are the assignments submitted? How are the tests conducted? Do I have to participate on the class discussion board?

  • You never need to come to campus. There are NO required on-campus meetings. The entire class is conducted online.
  • The entire textbook is available online inside MyMathLab. MyMathLab access is required. Buying a hard copy text is unnecessary. (See What is MyMathLab?)
  • All quizzes, tests, and the final exam are conducted online in MyMathLab. These assessments make up about 2/3 of your grade.
  • There are no homework assignments in the traditional sense, but you are expected to practice interactive problems online in MyMathLab regularly.
  • Participation on the class discussion board is required. This is a collaborative learning class, not a self-paced independent study class. Plan to participate in the discussions at least three days (4 posts) each week. Class participation makes up about 1/3 of your grade.

On the waitlist?

WAITLISTED STUDENTS: See MathOL Syllabus - Waitlisted Students for vital information!

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

The orientation takes place in your online class during the first few days of class. It will walk you through the course organization, introduce you to the important class documents such as the syllabus, and orient you to your online math class. You must login to your class to complete the orientation which includes specific orientation assignments including mandatory orientation assignments on day 1 and day 2.

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

If you want to get a bit of a head start before the term starts see Prof. Keely's Math Online Web "Orientation" tab.

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

In week one there are five specific orientation assignments, so it is a tad different from future weeks, but here is the nitty-gritty of how the class works in general:

  • In WAMAP: Participate regularly (goal: every other day) in the discussions on the weekly discussion board for class participation points (CPRs). These discussions are worth about 1/3 of your course grade. (CPR points start in week 2.)

  • In MyMathLab: Read the e-text, watch tutorial videos, and work practice problems in your Study Plan. Try to "master" the topics in preparation for the quiz. Note there are NO graded textbook assignments or traditional homework.

  • In MyMathLab: Take the weekly open-note open-book quiz (in FWS terms due on Saturday evening) and the final exam (in finals week). These tests are worth about 2/3 of your course grade.
So, a typical day consists of reading a section in the e-text (MML), watching a tutorial video (MML), working interactive practice problems (MML), and discussing math problems on the class discussion boards (WAMAP). Once a week (more frequently in summer term) you will take a quiz online (MML).

That's it! Really quite straight forward and easy to get into the flow by week two.

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 usually three units per week in 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. Work toward mastery of the objectives. Take advantage of the "help me solve this" feature if needed.

  5. In WAMAP, post a substantive response to each discussion question by its due date/time.

  6. In WAMAP, read all the new posts on the class discussion board for that week. Try to participate there every other day. Make comments as you like. You can respond to my posts with a comment, respond to other students, or make new threads, anything may be eligible for participation points. Post 4 messages over 3 days including DQ.

  7. In MML, towards the end of the week take the quiz over that week's material. Note: Summer term is compressed, so some weeks have two quizzes.
How to Succeed in an Online Course provides some general tips for success.

What are the first-week attendance requirements?

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

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

Clark Student Email accounts are the official email accounts used by the College. You must use your Clark Student Email for all email communications in this class. Do not email your professor from a different account. To protect student privacy, faculty cannot legally respond to off-campus addresses per FERPA regulations.

Set-up your email per How to Activate Your Clark Student Email Account. Your email address will (most likely) have the form j.doe@students.clark.edu (first initial, period, last name). You may also find How to Forward Your Clark Student Email helpful.

Check your Clark Student Email regularly! To access it, login to Gmail.com and enter your full Clark Student Email Address (example: j.doe@students.clark.edu) and your password.

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.

Next please read How do I email the professor? (e.g. subject line to use, etc.)

What is a CMS = Course Management System?

A course management system (CMS, a.k.a. LMS = learning management system) is a website where students in an online class meet online for lessons, discussions, etc. The CMS is where you "go to class" online. Examples of a CMS include WAMAP, Canvas, and Blackboard.

What is MyMathLab?

MyMathLab (MML) is an online course delivery system provided by the textbook publisher. In MyMathLab you can read the complete textbook online, watch video lectures, and work interactive tutorial exercises. MyMathLab is also the software in which you take the quizzes and exams, so access to it is required.

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 recent version of Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari browser. MSIE may not work (depending on version).
  2. The latest version of Java installed in your browser -- click here to test. If you need to update see java.com/en/download (free).
  3. The latest version of Adobe Reader (free) is required to print some of the course materials (.pdf format).
  1. The online textbook includes video lectures that may require QuickTime or some other (free) video player. MyMathLab's "browser check" will let you know if you have any missing video software.


  1. Some supplemental resources include flash movies that require Adobe Macromedia's Shockwave Player or Flash Player (free). You likely already have these plugins installed in your browser -- click here to test.
  2. 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.

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 hard copy textbook in addition to MyMathLab?

No. The entire textbook is available online as e-texts through MyMathLab so buying a hard copy textbook is optional and unnecessary unless you really want one. Most MyMathLab e-texts are printable too.

Can you tell me more about Prof. Keely's GOLDen Mathematics e-book?

If you are looking for readings to supplement the e-text in MyMathLab, there are lots materials available for free on the internet (math help sites, tutorial videos, etc.) and I encourage you to take advantage of them. See your Class Syllabus for my specific recommendations.

I wrote a series of e-books called GOLDen Mathematics but they are not free and, no, you totally do NOT need to buy them. The audience is adult learners and home-educating parents. They are essentially my class lectures including detailed examples with graphics and some quick self-checks, but do not include exercise sets. They are not as fancy as a regular textbook, but students report they are easy reads and explain problems clearly.

The GOLDen Mathematics e-books are available as complete books and also as single topic "modules". So if you are having difficulty with just one topic/chapter of material (e.g. rational expressions), you can download (for a small fee) just that module/topic/chapter at www.lulu.com/skeely.

Complete e-books downloadable at Lulu (for a fee):

Modules by topic downloadable at Lulu (for a small fee):

Elem. Algebra Inter. Algebra College Algebra Complete Algebra Trig & Calculus
Intro to Algebra Exponents, Polynomials, and Factoring Equations and Inequalities Includes material from Elem/Inter Algebra AND College Algebra for complete coverage with review. I'm not sure when I'll get around to finally uploading these e-books. Sabbatical?
Linear Equations and Inequalities (1-var) Rational Expressions Functions and Graphs Equations  
Intro to Graphs and Functions Radical Expressions Polynomial and Rational Functions Inequalities  
Linear Equations and Inequalities (2-var) Equations: Quadratic, Rational, and Radical Exponential and Logarithmic Functions Exponential and Logarithmic Functions  
Systems of Linear Equations Composite Functions, Inverse Functions, and Parabolas    
Exponents, Polynomials, and Factoring Exponential and Logarithmic Functions