Sunday, September 9, 2012

A new semester of MLCS and a book update

The fall semester brings new MLCS classes.  We've expanded our pilot to three sections (from two last year) with two different day patterns:  MWF for 100 minutes a class, and MTWTh for 75 minutes a class.  I'm doing two sections, 4 days a week.  It's been quite enjoyable to do a 75 minute class period.  Students have remarked that the class flies since we're so busy.

I'm continually pleased with the progress that's been made in a year.  The materials are working beautifully.  Students adapt quickly to the style of the class.  Maybe it's because Heather and I better understand what we're doing, but issues of "buy-in" were pretty non-existent.  Students accepted that this is how the class would roll and have been very positive as well. 

Without question, I'm sold on this course and what it can do for developmental math students.  More than just mastery of specific mathematical objectives, MLCS builds college readiness.  We push them, no doubt.  Students say this is a tough course.  But it's also an accessible and enjoyable one.  If students will work, they will be successful.  That cannot always be said in an algebra class, or most math classes for that matter, because math is linear.  If you lack the prerequisite skills, you are at a huge disadvantage.  But the prerequisite skill knowledge needed in MLCS is fairly minimal and we review that content to begin the semester anyway.  What we need are students open to learning, willing to think, and willing to put in serious hours of work.  The payoff is large:  one semester and they are done with developmental math.  But beyond that, they are ready for college level work and expectations upon successful completion of the course.  They've had to write, read, think, problem solve, communicate, and persevere.  Not all will make it, but many do.  

In other exciting news, we have been working on a sampler of the MLCS book we're writing.  It is nearly finished and will be in print in early October.  Pearson representatives will have copies.  It is one full unit, completely designed and professionally laid out.  The cover has also been designed and is part of this sampler.  I'll post a picture when I have the final copy.

The book is written and has been through several rounds of edits.  If you would like to see the full manuscript, please contact your Pearson representative.  It is currently being class tested at schools across the U.S.  Additional class tests are available for the spring semester.  We will begin copyedits and design edits of the remaining units soon with a publish goal date of next summer.  After seeing the sampler, I'm very anxious to get the rest of the book to that level. 

Students in MLCS class working together.

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