MyMathLab Quick Start Guide For Instructors

April 29, 2009 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

Many instructors are hesitant to try something new, regardless of how good it sounds, and I imagine the same could be true with incorporating MyMathLab into your courses. The focus of this article is to help you find an efficient way to get started with MyMathLab.

Start Slow

My first piece of advice is to start slow. MyMathLab is powerful and offers a wide range of tools. It can feel overwhelming to try to use them all at the beginning. Once you become comfortable with the basics of MyMathLab, you’ll be able to add on other features in later semesters.

Get An Instructor Access Code

To start you will need an instructor access code. You can request a code through or you can simply contact your Pearson rep and ask for one. Personally, I’d recommend contacting the Pearson rep because they may have some advice or resources to share with you.

Create A Course

The next step is to create a course. When you log into MyMathLab, you will see a button labeled “Create/Copy Course”. Click on this button, and after you enter some important information (author, book, edition, course name, …) a course will be created for you. You will be given a Course ID, and you will need to provide that Course ID to your students in order for them to be able to enroll in your MyMathLab course. (By the way, the Course ID will be your last name followed by 5 digits. For my courses that would be woodbury#####.) offers outstanding instructor support, including documents on creating a course.

Day One & Syllabus

I include the web address ( on my syllabus, as well as the Course ID. In the syllabus I clearly state the grading policy with respect to MyMathLab work. This semester MML homework is worth 100 points and MML quizzes are worth 200 points, out of a possible 1200 points.

I also provide my students with a day one handout. On one side of the handout I provide the students with information on how to register in my MyMathLab course. On the other side I review some of the features of MyMathLab that my students will use – how to find and do the homework, how to find and do the quizzes, how to find and view the video lectures, … If you’d like a copy of this handout, you can drop me a line through my web site.

 Click Here To Request My Day One Handout 

I can email you a pdf or a Word document.

Your Pearson rep can also assist you in putting together a day one handout that meets your needs, and the needs of your students as well.


I create a homework assignment for each section I cover. Typically I include around 20 problems in an assignment. I post the assignment the day before I cover the material in class. I set a due date for each assignment – midnight of the third night after the material is covered. For example, if I plan to cover “graphing lines using slope” on Wednesday, I post the homework assignment on Tuesday and make it due Friday at midnight. For more information on MyMathLab homework, check out my article on Using MyMathLab to Supplement a Traditional Math Class.

My students use MyMathLab homework as an opportunity to learn the material I cover in class, as well as get in the necessary practice. There are built in learning aids that will help students to understand how to do the problems.

Creating homework is a pretty easy process.  Click on Control Panel, then on Homework/Test Manager. Create a new homework assignment, choosing a name for your assignment. Select the chapter and section you want to work with. You can add problems by selecting problems that correspond to the numbers in your textbook, or you can look through the available problems one at a time using the Preview & Add feature. Finish by saving and assigning your assignment, adding deadlines, …

Once the homework deadline has passed I go through the students who skipped the assignment and give them a 0. To do this, go to your MML Gradebook and click on Manage Incompletes. Select the assignment and MyMathLab will zero out the incompletes.


I recommend using MyMathLab quizzes as well as MyMathLab homework. I create and assign 2 quizzes for each chapter I cover. The first quiz covers the first half of the chapter, while the second quiz covers the entire chapter. My students use these quizzes to help prepare for their exams.

Quizzes work a little differently than the homework does. First, I turn off all of the learning aids. (This is the default setting.) I allow students to take the quiz more than once, but they must retake the whole quiz and not just do the problems they missed. By allowing students to retake the quiz I am encouraging them to remediate themselves – figure out which problems they are struggling with and go over them so they will be more successful on their next attempt.

In all of the years I have been using MyMathLab I have found that quiz scores and pencil/paper test scores have a strong positive correlation.

Creating a quiz is similar to creating a homework assignment, except it is drawn from more than one section of the textbook. (In the Homework/Test Manager, create a quiz instead of a homework assignment.) You can also adjust the settings concerning how many attempts your student can have, time limits, deadlines, …

I try to make each quiz between 20 and 25 problems long.

Again, for more information on MyMathLab quizzes, check out my article on Using MyMathLab to Supplement a Traditional Math Class.


Besides keeping the grades for MML homework & quizzes, I use the MyMathLab Gradebook to record grades for my in-class pencil & paper exams. This way, thanks to the weighting capabilities, my students can see their current grade in my class at any time.

To add an offline item such as a test, select “Add Offline Item” under “More Gradebook Tools”. Fill out the required information, and you will be able to enter your student’s scores.


If you start slowly you will find that it’s quite easy to incorporate MyMathLab into your courses. After initial success, you might consider branching out in future semesters. Some options that I use include:

  • emailing students as homework deadlines approach
  • using Item Analysis to take a snapshot of my students’ strong points and weak points
  • emailing section summaries and helpful hints/warnings
  • creating custom exercises

If I can be of any help or if you have a comment for me, you can either leave a comment here on this blog, or you can contact me through my web site at



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