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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Instructor video support in Math Lit

Heather and I offer training to schools and faculty who request it as they implement a math literacy course using Math Lit.  However, there may be times when you want something quick instead of a day long seminar.  Perhaps you're new to the course and want an overview.  Or maybe you have a new adjunct who wants to understand how the course works.

We made a series of 12 brief instructor videos to address these needs.  They are housed within the MyMathLab course in a tab called Instructor Resource Videos.  They are also provided as links within the preface.

The twelve videos are:

A Typical Day
Book Structure
Focus Problems
Lesson Features
Cycle Wrap-Up
Teaching with Excel
Tour of MyMathLab
Top 10 Tips
Instructor Support

Take a look at A Typical Day.

For more information on instructor support available, check out Math Lit's website.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Why pathways?

Pathways like Math Literacy (MLCS) continue to be an option that many colleges and universities are adding to their developmental math programs.  If you’re new to pathways or your college is pursuing them, you may wonder, “what’s all the fuss?”  Here are some reasons pathways are a great option for developmental math students.

1.  Pathways create a new, useful experience in developmental math.

Pathways courses aren’t about high school all over again.  Instead students encounter new content and some old content but done in new ways.  Problems are set in contexts that students will encounter in their lives, jobs, and classes.  The methods are built for adult learners and address their unique needs and issues.

     2.  Pathways are relevant.

I don’t have students asking me “when will I ever use this?”  They know the answer to the question because they see it answered with every section we cover.  Math Literacy doesn’t have content for the sake of history, but instead content that is necessary for problems we will solve.

       3.  Pathways build college readiness.

Pathways courses ask a lot of developmental students.  These students have to read, infer, interpret, apply, and understand the content they learn.  They have to communicate it to other students verbally and in print.  They are expected to write regularly, including explanations.  It’s not enough to be able to do a skill.  They have to understand that skill and know how to use it in new situations they haven’t seen before.

     4.  Pathways work.

We have a lot of data showing that the traditional developmental algebra courses do not work.  They may be comfortable to many faculty, but they don’t work for students.  The pass rates in them and after them aren’t great.  When students move from intermediate algebra to statistics, they are usually surprised and instead feel unprepared.  A course about reasoning and nonstop word problems that aren’t “types” isn’t what they’ve have been doing for years. 

Pathways course, on the other hand, do have data to support that they work.  Students by and large pass them.  And once they pass and enroll in a college-level course, they usually pass it too.  Not only are they passing, but they’re prepared for college-level coursework and expectations. 

To learn more about pathways course like Math Literacy, please check the top of the page for several links to helpful information.  You can also check out this webinar.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

ICTCM - New Math Lit talk

Next month, Heather and I will be presenting at ICTCM in Las Vegas.  We have a new talk about using Excel in pathways courses.  The talk we originally had planned, on using hybrid and online formats with pathways courses, has been put on hold until a later date.  We continue to work on ways to make Math Lit work in alternate formats.  More information will be coming at a later date on that front.  Until then, please come see us at ICTCM if you're coming to the conference.  This is the talk we'll be giving.  It will showcase several new problems and activities.

Beyond Algebra:  Using Excel to Build Understanding in a Pathways Course 

Pathways courses use rich, realistic problems to apply concepts and increase problem solving skills.  Instead of focusing exclusively on algebraic techniques, this session will show ways to use Excel to develop deeper understanding. Sample activities and problems will be shared.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

AMATYC 2014 Presentation: Tips and Tricks for Implementing a Math Literacy Course

Here are the slides from the presentation I did with Dan Petrak at AMATYC last week.  He has used Math Lit at his school for their math literacy course for two years.  He's in his third year of teaching the course.  Their implementation is large scale, across several campuses and with many instructors (full time and adjuncts).

Friday, November 14, 2014

Math Literacy training - AMATYC 2014

Below is the presentation Heather and I gave today at AMATYC as a training session for teaching a math literacy course.  There is information on the philosophy of the course, how lessons are taught, how we use MyMathLab, teaching tips, ideas for groupwork, and ideas for grading.

If you would like more information on the points in the presentation, please check out our ready-to-go MyMathLab course.  In it are 12 instructor videos where we explain many of the topics discussed in the presentation below.  Those videos can be used as a virtual training.

If you are interested in us coming to your school to train your faculty, please email me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Math Lit sessions at AMATYC

Next week I'll be AMATYC in Nashville.  Here are the sessions I'll be presenting.

The Right Stuff - Still Music to Your Ears
Thursday 1:50 - 2:40 pm

Rob Kimball and I will present on The Right Stuff modules.  They are applied, contextual modules designed to engage college algebra students.  I explored these after coming back to teach college algebra after a few years away in which I was working on the Math Literacy course.  Pathways courses have affected all the classes I teach, challenging me to find rich problems and activities to build student engagement and understanding.  We'll talk in detail about the Right Stuff modules.  I'll also share an activity I wrote for my college algebra classes after being inspired by RS material.

Teaching a Math Lit Course:  Tips and Training
Friday 8:00 - 9:30 am

Heather and I are giving this session through Pearson as a commercial presentation.  We will do a fast but informative training session to help you get your Math Lit pilot off on the right foot.  We'll talk about many aspects of teaching the course including the philosophy of the course, the materials we've written, using online homework, and dealing with groups.  Whether you're considering piloting, getting ready to pilot, or teaching the course already, this session should have something for you.

Tips and Tricks for a Successful Pathways Implementation
Friday 3:10 - 4 pm

Dan Petrak and I will give lots of tips for implementing a Math Lit course at any size school, small or multi-campus.  Many ideas will shared including tips for working with adjuncts and advisors as well as classroom-level issues like group-work and contextual learning.

I hope to see you there!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ideas for accountability in group work

In Math Lit, we use a lot of group work to give students time to work through more involved problems and gain the ability to articulate their thought processes with others.  It's a flexible component of the book and math literacy course in that you can use your class time to be mostly group work or use it some or little of the time.  I teach my class with about half the time in groups and half as whole class, but that's just a personal preference.  It flexes with the students I have and their abilities and personalities.

If you use group work, especially group projects like the focus problems in the text, you know that some students don't carry their weight.  We have suggestions throughout the book for working with groups and maintaining accountability.  This article shares some additional ideas that are worth considering.