## MyMathLab – MML Announcement Manager (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this MML Announcement Manager article I explained how to alter your MyMathLab course to use the MML Announcemnt Manager. The MML Announcement Manager allows you to post an announcement to your course’s entry page and email the same announcement to your students. It also halps you to manage your announcements in future courses. Now I’ll continue with a discussion of how to effectively use the MML Announcement Manager as part of your course.

## How I Use The MML Announcement Manager

### Daily Summaries

One semester I typed a daily summary as the semester progressed. Each summary listed the objectives covered in that section, quick examples, warnings, and homework exercises. After I typed them up in the MML Announcements Manager, I posted the announcements on the main MML page and also emailed them to my students with one button. I used to have to copy the announcement and paste it into an email. My students loved the summaries, one referred to them as “recaps of what we did in class”. They have been really useful in my online courses – they make it sseem more like I am teaching the class than “managing” a correspondence course.

When I copy my course for a new semester, I am able to copy all of these announcements at the same time. I can then edit and build on them.

Here is a sample summary for elementary algebra.

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Section 3.2 Summary – Due Friday February 19
Hi Class,
Here is a summary of section 3.2.
Section 3.2
You should be able to:
1. Find the x- and y-intercepts of a line from its graph.
2. Find the x- and y-intercepts of a line from its equation.
3. Graph linear equations by using its intercepts.
4. Graph linear equations that pass through the origin.
5. Graph horizontal lines.
6. Graph vertical lines.
7. Interpret the graph of an applied linear equation.

1. Find the x- and y-intercepts of a line from its graph.
A point where a graph crosses the x-axis is called its x-intercept. The coordinates of the x-intercept are always of the form (x, 0). A point where a graph crosses the y-axis is called its y-intercept. The coordinates of the y-intercept are always of the form (0, y).

2. Find the x- and y-intercepts of a line from its equation.

• To find the x-intercept of a line from its equation, plug in 0 for y and solve for x.
• To find the y-intercept of a line from its equation, plug in 0 for x and solve for y.

In general, to find an intercept plug in 0 for the other variable and solve.

3. Graph linear equations by using its intercepts.
This is the first way to efficiently graph a line. Begin by finding the x-intercept and the y-intercept and plot them on the graph. Draw the straight line that goes through them and you are done.

Pencil & Paper Advice: Find the coordinates of a third point (like we did in 3.1) and make sure that the line actually passes through this point as well. If one of your intercepts is incorrect, this third point will not be on the line. This is a quick way to check your work.

MML Advice: Although any two points determine a line, if MML tells you to graph using the intercepts then the two points you put on the graph must be the intercepts and not some other point that is also on the line.

WARNING : Some lines only have 1 intercept, and they will be addressed in #4, 5, & 6 below.

4. Graph linear equations that pass through the origin.
If the x-intercept is the origin, the y-intercept will also be at the origin. This means that we only have one point on the graph, and we need a second. Simply pick a value for x (you can pick anything, but small positive integers like 1, 2, or 3 would be good choices) and find the y-value that goes with it. Plot this new point and “connect the dots”.

5. Graph horizontal lines.
A horizontal line does not cross the x-axis. Its equation will be of the form “y = b”, because the y-coordinate of each point on the line is the number “b”. To graph a horizontal line, put the y-intercept at (0, b) and draw a horizontal line through it.

The form of the equation can be confusing to students. We see an equation that only has y in it, and we think that y moves up and down. The thing to remember is that “y = b” means that each y-coordinate stays the same, so the line doesn’t move up and down but instead moves left and right.

6. Graph vertical lines.
A vertical line does not cross the y-axis. Its equation will be of the form “x = a”, because the x-coordinate of each point on the line is the number “a”. To graph a vertical line, put the x-intercept at (a, 0) and draw a vertical line through it.

Horizontal lines and vertical lines are special because they only contain one variable. An equation that only has x in it is a vertical line, and an equation that only has y in it is a horizontal line.

7. Interpret the graph of an applied linear equation.

The y-intercept of a line or equation has an x-coordinate of 0, and typically represents a starting point in a real problem.

The x-intercept of a line or equation has a y-coordinate of 0, and typically represents a break even point or a point where something runs out.

Book HW: 1-6, 13 – 29 odd, 41 – 61 odd

Good luck – Mr Woodbury

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By the way, if you’d like to copy my elementary algebra announcements, drop me a line and I’ll share my Course ID with you.

### Quick Notes

I use the MML Announcement Manager to make quick announcements to my class. It is an efficient technique for getting information to students because it appears on the main MML page as well as my students’ email inbox. Here are some examples of the types of items I post.

In case a student has had an assignment’s due date slip their mind.
• New Camtasia Videos Posted
I can release these as needed.
• New Practice Test Or Answer Key Posted
An alert that a new item has been posted, as well as where to find it.
• Unscheduled Absences
Students are really appreciative to find out I am absent without having to read the note on the door.
• Test Scores Posted
Instead of students emailing all weekend about their exams, I tell them I will make an announcement/send an email when the grades are up.
• Weekly Schedule
This helps students to plan their week.
• FAQ’s
If more than one student emails a similar question to me, this is a great way to get the information to the entire class.

### MML Dashboard

When you make the MML Announcement page your course’s main entry page, you can have the MML dashboard displayed in the upper right corner of the screen. This gives your students information that is quite useful: assignments due today, upcoming assignments, gradebook. Here’s how it looks.

I hope you find these ideas helpful. If you have any questions, or any strategies you’d like to share, leave a comment or drop me a line through my website.

-George

I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. Each Monday I post an article related to MyMathLab on my blog. If there’s a particular study skill you’d like me to address, or if you have a question or a comment, please let me know. You can reach me through the contact page on my website – http://georgewoodbury.com.