Home Contact

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

General Qs about Class, Materials, & Class Participation (CPRs):

General Class Q&A

How do I email the professor?

The best way to reach me privately is by email. To email Prof. Keely:
TO: skeely@clark.edu
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 emails! 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.

Can I message the professor, instead of email?

As a back up to email you can "message" me through WAMAP. However, I do not check messages as often as email so don't use messages if you need immediate attention (eg. requesting a quiz get unlocked). Do not message me through Canvas, I rarely login to check Canvas messages.

What are the professor's open office hours?

See Contact Prof. Keely for contact information, class schedule, and open office hour times.

SUMMER term: I do not hold scheduled open office hours. (I teach as an adjunct thus not contracted to hold open office hours, but see * below.)

FALL-WINTER-SPRING terms: I hold regular online open office hours some of which may be conducted from on-campus. See my schedule.

ONLINE open 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 my virtual meeting room at contact.sallykeely.com.

(*) If you can't meet during a scheduled open office hour or if it is summer term I can meet for an online live 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 Center and online at eTutoringOnline.org.

When is the professor online/offline? When can I expect a reply?

I am here to help you be successful. While not available 24/7, I am active in online classrooms 60+ hours a week and available via email six days per week. I keep students informed of any schedule updates through Class Announcements via Twitter.

EMAIL: I am available to students via email Monday through Saturday from at least 8 am through 10 pm. 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 reading and responding to posts at least a couple times each day Monday through Saturday. I try to take Sunday completely off the boards.

I typically post mini-lectures and examples to the boards by Monday morning and again by Tuesday morning each week (more often in compressed summer term). 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.

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.

Open office hours: See FAQs - Prof's open office hours.

To what time zone do the deadlines refer?

All deadline due times are Pacific time.

What time is meant by a midnight deadline?

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 "midnight" here.)

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?

Each week of CPRs has a 12-hour period 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. This time is used by the professor to double-check and record class participation points for the week and update the gradebook.

The dead zone is on Saturday from noon to midnight (except in the last week of class - see class calendar).

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 class announcement, but that is extremely rare.

Also see What happens if I get locked out from a quiz?

Does this online class meet 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 runs 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 >> click the CLASS CALENDARS tab >> click the deadlines chart for your course.

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.

Note: The lesson notes have generic numbers which do not (necessarily) match the section number in the e-text. The material matches, but not the number. Lesson notes 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 the final exam (see Math Online Syllabus - Points Chart).

However, success in mathematics requires regular practice, so you should work daily practice problems. For these 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". However, these exercises have no deadlines, 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, since Clark no longer provides a server on which faculty can post documents or images publicly, access to files housed off the Clark server or links to external sites cannot be guaranteed including images embedded in a DB post that are actually links to external image files.

If I withdraw from the course can I still access the course materials?

No. If you withdraw from or stop attending the course your access to the CMS, MyMathLab, and all other course materials will be discontinued. However, if you complete the class see How can I access MML after the class ends?.

Why aren't 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.

Remember that the class has a couple safety nets thrown in to help balance a bad week or two (lowest two quizzes eliminated, freebie CPR week, per syllabus). Be as consistent in your work throughout the course as you can, earn as many of the points available as you can, every point counts evenly, rack them up and earn your grade!

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 "participation"?

Attendance in class means logging into your online class and reading the discussion board postings. Online presence means making your presence known to the class by posting on the 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) every week.

Whereas you are penalized for neglecting attendance and online presence, you are rewarded for regular class participation which earns you points :)

What are the class participation requirements (CPR)?

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 (FAQ - meaning of "week"). For full CPR points for the week make 3 posts over any 2 days earning one "S", one "R", and one "Q" tag. More details are Math Online Syllabus - Participation and in the following few FAQs.

Can you give me an example of how to earn full CPRs?

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!

Starting in week 2, for full CPR points for the week make 3 posts over any 2 days earning one "S", one "R", and one "Q" tag per the Math Online Syllabus - Class Participation Requirements (CPRs). Plan to read and contribute to the threads on the discussion board on at least two days each week. It is recommended that you read the posts every other day and make one of your posts early in the week.

Here is an example that could earn the full participation points:

  • Tuesday post a relevant reply to a fellow student. For instance, help a classmate with a question they have from last week's quiz in the "Quiz # thread". Or if a classmate responded to one of the Professor's LQ threads you can pick-up the process where they left off, or point out an error and constructively explain the correction. Or reply to a classmate with a pertinent follow-up question that engages the class in further discussion. This post should be sufficiently relevant so as to advance the conversation, but does not need to meet any specific word count.

  • Tuesday make a substantive post (in any existing thread or start your own). For instance, respond to one of the Professor's LQ threads by starting the process to answer one of the questions. Or make a follow-up question/comment to one of the Professor's example threads. Be sure your post is sufficiently relevant so as to advance the conversation substantively and meets the 75-word count requirement.

  • Friday post one fairly quick post anywhere on the discussion board. For instance, a quick question/comment in any conversation, a resource or tip that adds understanding to the content, an encouraging note to a classmate.

Viola, that would earn the full 10 CPR points! You may find the CPR Checklist Rubric useful to keep track of your progress toward full CPR points each week.

How do I get an "S" tag? What does "substantive" mean?

An "S" tag is earned by making a "substantive" post. "S" posts must satisfy all criteria (including word count) listed at Math Online Syllabus - Substantive.

How do I get an "R" tag? What does "relevant reply" mean?

An "R" tag is earned from making a "relevant reply" to a fellow student. "R" posts must satisfy all criteria listed at Math Online Syllabus - Relevant Reply.

How do I get a "Q" tag? What does "quick post" mean?

An "Q" tag is earned by making a "quick post". "Q" posts do not have any criteria to meet. Pretty much any post will earn “Q” tag as long as it doesn’t fall into any of the “X” tag categories. Quick posts count toward points for "frequency" and "quantity" components of CPRs.

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, R, and Q tagged posts count. A post will likely earn “X” tag if it fits any of the categories listed at Math Online Syllabus - No Credit Posts.

My post got an "S/R" tag. What does that mean?

If your reply to a fellow student is relevant and substantive then it will initially get tagged "S/R". At the end of the week when CPR grades get posted then the professor will decide if that post is an "S" or an "R" whichever helps your grade more. For instance if you had "S/R, R, Q" then that "S/R" tag will become "S" tag to give you "S, R, Q" for full credit.

Will any combinations besides "S, R, Q" tags earn full credit, eg. "S, R, R"?

For full CPR points for the week make 3 posts over any 2 days earning one "S", one "R", and one "Q" tag. However, it is OK to earn better than a "Q" for your third post and still earn the full 10 points, e.g., "S, R, R" or "S, S, R" are fine! As long as you post on any 2 days and earn one "S" and one "R" then your third post can be any tag except "X". For instance, "S, Q, Q" would not earn full credit since it is missing a relevant reply ("R").

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. The only exception is that an "R" post must be a relevant reply to a fellow student.

Why does this class require participation on the discussion boards?

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."

Discussing mathematics 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'm new to discussion boards. How do I contribute to the discussions in a way that builds our learning community?

Thanks for asking! As in a my on-campus classes which involve daily group work (active learning), my online classes are designed on a collaborative learning model with the discussion boards at its heart. For the class to be successful it is ideal if every class member read and contribute to the discussions every other day, and make at least one post early in the week. The key, really, is come to class often and be an active participant. This is your class and it is you that can make it all that it can be. Your online learning community needs regular feeding ;-}

Watch this short video for specific suggestions: Tips to help students better utilize online discussion boards.

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!

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. However, see CPR Freebie Week in Math Online Syllabus.

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:

- Use appropriate clear subject lines.
- Focus on one subject or problem per message.

- Reply to messages within that thread and start new threads for new topics only.
- 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 graphics, images, 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.]

New to online academic discussions? Here are additional Core Rules of Netiquette if you need them.

What does "HTH" mean and other internet acronyms?

HTH = Hope That Helps. TIA = Thanks In Advance. FWIW = For What It's Worth. You will see these and other internet acronyms come up sometimes in class postings. 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 very complete 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 Citation Machine uses a simple web form to help you format MLA or APA style citations.

Is it acceptable to cite Wikipedia as a source?

No, Wikipedia and other wiki sites are not academically viable and should not be cited as a source. Wikipedia.com and other similar resources (eg. 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 often anonymous and the information posted does not come under a formal oversight or peer-review process and thus may not be accurate. In fact a wiki page can be changed by anyone at any moment, further adding to its unreliability as a source. You are responsible for the accuracy of any facts you present in class 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.