Posts filed under ‘MyMathLab’

ICTCM & What’s On The Way

I just got back from the 24th ICTCM, and, as usual, I am full of great ideas that I picked up. There were two trends that I saw – Pencasts and Simulations.

There were several talks on using smart pens. I recently received one as a gift, and I think that it is becoming a very important tool for me as an educator. They can be used to communicate to students who email questions, post supplementary materials online, or even as a note taking tool. I will share my approach in future blogs.

There were also several talks that incorporated the use of simulations in introductory statistics. This is a BIG idea that will one day revolutionize the way we teach inferential statistics. Resampling and bootstrapping are effective ways to show our visual students what is really going on. I usually use StatCrunch for this purpose.

Matt Davis (Chabot College) did a great job, and he has some fantastic simulations. You can find him through a quick Google search for “Matt Davis Chabot”, and he seems pretty willing to share. (Tell him I sent you.)

I gave a talk on my new mastery based learning approach using MyMathLab, which incorporates elements of game design. I think that my students have changed their focus from doing homework to earn points to doing homework to learn and understand mathematics. I will be putting together a blog series on this new approach that will share last semester’s results, explain exactly how I set my class up, and share the elements of game design that I have incorporated, as well as some commentary from my son.

One other blog series that I will put together is one on my MyMathLab top 10-ish features. Now that most classes have gone to the new design of MyMathLab, it’s time to go over these features.

I’m looking forward to getting this blog rolling again. I hope you have all been well.


I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. If there’s a particular topic 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 –


March 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm 2 comments

The Teacher Becomes The Student

For the first time in a long time, I am on the other side of the desk. Since our college decided to cancel the summer session, I have some free time on my hands. I decided to take Intro to Econ & Intro to Podcasting.

I chose Econ because I felt that it would add depth to the math courses I teach. It will turn into a sort of MyMathLab experiment for me as it turns out. The class uses MyEconLab, and I am trying to take the class using only the eBook on MyEconLab. That’s right, no actual textbook. As I read the eBook, I work my way through the Study Plan exercises. I have found that it helps my reading comprehension. I’ll update my progress as I go, but I did make it through all of the homework for test 1 so I decided to take it. I scored 97.5%, and I feel like I really understand the material.

As far as podcasting goes, my plan is to incorporate podcasts to help my students understand concepts before they come to class. In other words, this will be part of my plan to flip the classroom. In the big picture I am thinking that these podcasts will help developmental math students around the world to gain understanding. We’ll see.

I do enjoy being on the other side of the desk … it’s been a long time.

– George

I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. If there’s a particular topic 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 –

May 31, 2011 at 7:26 pm 4 comments

Using Personalized Homework in MyMathLab to Review for the Final Exam

I am currently teaching an arithmetic class at my college. We cover whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents in addition to study skills. The class is intended to help students who are underprepared to begin our sequence in prealgebra. The final exam is set for next Tuesday, and so it was time to begin reviewing for the final exam.

I broke the course into 5 units and created a review homework assignment for each unit. The assignment contains 3 problems for each objective. I then created a quiz that contains 1 problem from each objective and associated it with the homework assignment. Students begin by taking the quiz, and for each question they get correct the problems on the same objective are taken off the homework assignment. Then students can review only the problems they struggled with, and are able to use all the MyMathLab learning aids. Essentially my students are getting a personalized review assignment. Feedback from students is that they love this set up. Hopefully it leads to great scores on the final exam.

If you have any questions about personalized homework assignments inMyMathLab, drop me a line. You can leave a comment, or reach me through the contact page at my web site –


I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. Each Monday (during the semester) I post an article related to MyMathLab on my blog. If there’s a particular topic 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 –

May 4, 2011 at 9:35 am 2 comments

Getting Started With MyMathLab?

Last Friday I spent time with some instructors who were considering getting started with MyMathLab. Here are some general rules for those of you who may be in the same spot.

  • Start Slow
    MyMathLab is very powerful with lots of bells and whistles. Don’t feel that you need to incorporate them all right away. Start with homework for each section and maybe a quiz for each chapter. There will be plenty of time to expand, and basic homework and quizzes are a great way to get your feet wet. Don’t put too many questions on a homework assignment – my rule of thumb is 20 or less per assignment, and frequently less than 20.
  • See How Things Work From the Student Side
    During the first semester, I’d recommend trying the homework yourself. I’d do it a day before your students see it so you can share advice from your attempts.
  • Explain How the Learning Aids Work, Point Out Pitfalls
    I take the time to explain the purpose of each learning aid. I also point out the hazards of over-relying on them. I have a “Student Pointers” document on my web site that I have my students read: Feel free to use this in any way you wish. When students understand how to use the aids effectively, and that the overall goal is to understand the mathematics, they will use it effectively.
  • Don’t Give Up On Written Work
    It’s still important to see students’ work, so continue to incorporate short in-class quizzes, weekly homework packets, or groupwork. Some instructors have students write out their MyMathLab homework and keep it in a notebook that gets collected on a regular basis. This is a great way to keep students from looking for patterns and guessing at answers.
  • Make It Mandatory
    Students don’t do optional. Set regular deadlines, and be firm with them.

If you’d like more suggestions, ask for a copy of my free George Woodbury’s MyMathLab Guide from your Pearson rep, or drop me a line and I can get you a pdf.


I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. You can reach me through the contact page on my website –

April 11, 2011 at 10:02 am Leave a comment

Sample MML Courses for my 3E Combined Algebra Text

I have made some changes to my sample MML courses. There are now 7 options available – 3 for elementary, 3 for intermediate, and 1 general course that contains everything for all 14 chapters.

These courses are set up so you can copy them and get started right away, or you can customize to fit the needs of your particular class.

All of the information, including Course ID’s,  is available at


April 10, 2011 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

New MyMathLab Site For My 3E – Available To Copy

I have put together a MyMathLab course for the new edition of my Elementary & Intermediate Algebra textbook. I have set it up so you can copy it. Inside the course are 14 Chapter quizzes, 14 Chapter midpoint quizzes, 22 Student Learning Outcome (SLO) quizzes, 83 homework assignments, and announcements that can be posted/emailed to your students for Chapters 1-8. (The remaining announcements will be posted in the next week or so.)

The Course ID, and all important information can be found on this page on my web site.

If you do copy the course, please drop me a line through the Contact page on my website  so that I can keep you apprised of changes I make and new features that become available. You can also reach me through that page if you’d like me to customize a course for you – cut out certain chapters, delete certain assignments, …


I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. You can reach me through the contact page on my website –

March 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

Flipping the Class & Khan, Part 2

So, I went back and watched several videos at the Khan Academy last night. To be fair, there is more conceptual presentation than I thought. This makes me feel even better about sending my students to watch these videos. Yesterday’s blog shows the power of Web 2.0, blogging, & Twitter. I asked if I was missing something, and got lots of great feedback including from Jason with the Khan Academy team.

Where am I today?

I still feel that flipping the classroom is a worthy pursuit. There are lots of ways to get this done. The easiest way would be to flip the class in such a way that all of the students were working at the same pace on the same material. A motivating conceptual lecture could be given at the end of the class session, students could visit web sites for conceptual enrichment & how-to practice, with collaborative work in class the following day. There are variations that could work – written assignments for students to develop conceptual understanding at home, computerized assignments for drill practice, conceptual portions of the collaborative work. The Khan Academy videos could definitely be a tool utilized in this approach.

But is keeping everyone on the same pace the best way to flip the class? Isn’t there something to be said for allowing students to learn at their own pace? This is much harder to pull off, because it would then be impossible to give mini-lectures that conceptually motivated the topics. (Imagine 30 students in 30 different places – even if you could give all the mini-lectures there would be no time left for coaching/mentoring). So, we’re reliant on using the work of others to deliver the conceptual understanding or we must create all of the material ourselves. The best option is often the most difficult option.

Even after looking at the Khan Academy videos again, I don’t think that there is sufficient conceptual development there. It will be hard to find a one-stop shop that couples solid conceptual explanations of mathematical ideas along with practical how-to videos (which Khan does quite well) along with an arena for interactive student practice.

For me, I think the opportunity is there with MyMathLab. Depending on the book, there are videos that explain concepts & demonstrate how to solve problems. The homework & study plan, with all of its learning aids, can provide students with the quality practice they need. I’m going to try it in the fall, using the “all on the same pace” approach. I may need to supplement with more how-to videos, either from other sources online or by creating my own. I may need to develop some conceptual videos & materials. But I’ve got all summer, right? I wonder if I’m stumbling into one of those a-ha moments?

Let’s keep the conversation going. Please leave your opinion as a comment, or you can reach me through the contact page at my web site – I’d still like to hear from those of you who have experience in flipping the classroom.


I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. Each Wednesday I post an article related to General Teaching on my blog. If there’s a particular topic 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 –

March 15, 2011 at 9:47 am 3 comments

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