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General Questions about the Professor, Class, and Course Materials

General Tips for Student Success

About the Professor

Who is the professor? Where can I learn more about the professor?

Professor: Sally Keely, M.S. (Certified Clark eLearning Professional; Internationally Certified Online Educator)
Preferred name: Prof. Keely (she/her/hers pronouns)
Sally Keely's "About Me" page contains professional and personal background.

What is the professor's philosophy of education?

I love mathematics! It is fun, exciting, aesthetically beautiful, and intriguingly vital. Thinking mathematically helps one to examine, analyze, and solve life's problems in an organized logical manner. Understanding mathematical concepts allows us to perceive, interpret, critique, and transform the world.

My role is to provide an organized curriculum with valuable resources and facilitate your learning through guided activities in a challenging, meaningful, supportive atmosphere. Students and professor form a collaborative learning community where we all enthusiastically engage in the teaching and learning experience. I will present mini-lectures and examples utilizing symbolic, numerical, and graphical methods of problem solving. We will accomplish the course objectives together through interactive group discussions and active learning exercises that support conceptual understanding. This is in line with my teaching motto, "I am not here to teach at you, I am here to help you learn."

I have been dedicated to mathematics education in the PNW for almost 40 years. I chose to teach at community college because I believe in the power of a diverse, equitable, inclusive, public education. By supporting students from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds in meeting or exceeding their goals, I am rewarded. You and I are integral members of the Clark College community. I'm vested in your achievement! I value you and care about your well-being and academic success. The college offers an array of resources to which I can help you connect. If there is ever something I or the college can do to help you in your endeavors, don't hesitate to contact me anytime. I'm just an email away eager to assist you to be successful.

May I read the professor's statement of commitment to marginalized student communities?

In solidarity with black, indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC), and marginalized student communities, I stand committed to fighting systemic racism and bias, and advancing JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, inclusion) in higher education. I believe immigrants and people of colour provide our colleges and country strength, ingenuity, and character. I value you as you are and truly welcome you in class :)


Contacting the Professor

How do I contact the professor?

Contact.SallyKeely.com includes complete contact information for Prof. Sally Keely. Bookmark it the site in case your classroom is ever "down" and you need to reach me.

How do I email the professor? What email format rules should I use?

The best way to reach me privately or urgently is by email. I am available to students via email Monday through Saturday from at least 10 am through 10 pm. I'm quick to respond! So that your email filters to top priority please follow these simple format rules:

Email Format Rules: To email Prof. Keely please follow this format:
TO: skeely@clark.edu
FROM: Your Clark Student Email address (your @students.clark.edu address, not a home/work address).
SUBJECT LINE: Be descriptive and include the math course number (e.g. "Math 200 - Quiz 3").
BODY OF MESSAGE: Include your full name, and if needed, your CTCLink ID.

I teach several online classes and can get a hundred emails a day. Abiding by the format above will assist me in identifying you as a current student, locating your records, and assuring you a quick response. My email is set-up to prioritize all emails that follow the above protocol including a "course number" subject line filter, so please don't forget it. I don't want to miss a single one of your important emails!

When emailing the professor, use your Clark Student Email address. Email me from your official @students.clark.edu account only, not from a home email or other off-campus address. I will provide the same courtesy by only emailing you at your Clark address from my Clark address.

Keep your academic communications professional and polite. You are expected to treat your classmates, your professor, and all college employees with respect and civility. Guidelines for Writing an E-mail to a Professor is a useful blog post especially if you are new to email communications in an academic setting, or watch this, albeit cheesy, video: Proper E-mail Ettiquate in an Academic Setting

For help accessing your Clark Student Email account see FAQs - Info about Clark Student Email Accounts.

How can I CANVAS message the professor, instead of email?

You are welcome to "message" me through Canvas's "inbox" (directions with screenshots at Canvas Student Guide: Compose Message). This is an easy way to reach me privately. I will respond next time I login to Canvas and see your message. However, I do not check Canvas messages as often as email, so don't Canvas message me if you need an immediate reply, email me instead (e.g. you need a quiz unlocked).

When is the professor online/offline? When can I expect a reply?

I am here to help you be successful. While not available 24/7, I am active in the online classroom and check email several times a day six days a week. I am available asynchronously via:

EMAIL: The best way to reach me privately is to email me. I am available to students via email Monday through Saturday from at least 10 am through 10 pm. I try to reply to (properly sent, see above) email promptly, usually within a few hours, certainly within 24 hours, except Sunday.

MESSAGE: I will respond to a "message" sent through the Canvas inbox feature next time I login to class and see your message. If you need an immediate reply, don't Canvas message me, email me instead.

DISCUSSION BOARD: A great way to get math help is to post to the “Q&A Discussion Board” in our Canvas class. I check-in there regularly (a couple of times a day Monday through Saturday) and students are encouraged to assist each other there too. This is a public board, so please do not post a private question there (e.g. concerning your grade).

What are the professor's office hours, in what format are they held, and how do I attend?

OFFICE HOURS (by appointment, via TEXT): I don't hold traditional office hours (in my experience they are not effective in a fully online class). However, I am open to meet with students individually for a 20-minute block where we can live chat via text by appointment only (usually same day). Texting is conducted in Twiddla, a free web-based text-style meeting room that is easily accessible from any browser (on a computer or mobile device) and does not require an account. To arrange a time to meet, Canvas message or email me. I'll meet you in my Twiddla Virtual Meeting Room.

ON-CAMPUS OFFICE: The location of my physical on-campus office and other contact information is listed at Contact Prof. Keely as is my current term Schedule. I don't often "hang out" in my office, but I do spend unscheduled time on campus.

Besides discussion board, email, message, or text, how else can I get math help? Is tutoring available?

Clark Virtual Tutoring Center offers a variety of ways to connect with a tutor one-on-one. It can really help to meet with a tutor and get your questions answered in real time.

TUTORING ONLINE: Free tutoring is available virtually in Zoom (see Mathematics Tutoring Schedule) and online 24/7 at etutoringonline.org.

TUTORING ON-CAMPUS: Free tutoring is available on-campus (drop-in and by appointment) in the STEM Center (BHL-101/102).


Times, Deadlines, and Holidays

To what time zone do the deadlines refer?

All deadline due times are Pacific time.

What time is meant by a midnight deadline?

A "midnight" deadline means 11:59 pm that evening. For example, "due by midnight Friday" means "due by 11:59 pm Friday evening". (I know technically this is imprecise, but I'm adopting the colloquial use of "midnight" here.)

What day of the week is the end of the week?

When grading class participation a "day" is from 12:00 am to 11:59 pm and a "week" is from 12:00 am (early) Sunday morning to 11:59 am (before noon) on the following Saturday afternoon. Note the "dead zone" below.

What is the "dead zone"? Can I post during it?

CPRs are due before NOON on Saturday. The posting dead zone is on Saturday from noon to midnight.

After the CPR deadline each week there is a 12-hour period considered a "dead zone" in that posts made to the discussion boards during this period are NOT eligible for class participation, attendance, or online presence. (You can post, but the posts won't count for CPR points.) Posts made in the dead zone might not get a reply. This time is used by the professor to double-check and record class participation points for the week and update the gradebook.

NOTE: Deadlines are different during the last week of class. See class calendar for schedule, CPR deadline, dead zone times.

Why do CPRs for the week end at noon?

The primary reason for the noon deadline for CPRs (class participation points) is that when it was set at the same time as the quiz deadline a lot of people posted near that deadline and these posts tended to go unread. They were not contributing to the ongoing conversations, engaging the class as a whole, or helping anyone prepare for the quiz. So I moved that deadline a few hours up to encourage people to post while there was still time for others to respond before the end of the week. I do realize this is not the most convenient time for everyone, but after years of trying various deadlines, the noon time seems to be the best for the collaborative nature of the class as a whole.

What happens if I have technical difficulties and miss a deadline?

Late work earns zero credit!  Tests, CPRs, DQs, etc. cannot be made up even in the event of technical difficulties. So, don't procrastinate just in case! If any class web goes down for a significant length of time, I might extend deadlines, and if so, will inform you via class announcement, but that is extremely rare.

Also see What happens if I get locked out from a quiz?

Does this online class meet when Clark College is closed (e.g., holiday, inclement weather closure)?

Yes, when Clark College is closed for a holiday or emergency (due to inclement weather, electrical outage, emergency situation, etc.), the online classes still runs as usual and all due dates are maintained (no extensions). An excellent place to get updated emergency/weather closure information is www.pdxinfo.net.

Does this online class meet during Thanksgiving holiday week?

NO! Since this online class meets on two days in fall term when on-campus classes do not (faculty workday in October and Veteran's Day in November) then we can take two days off during Thanksgiving week to compensate. Those two along with the three days that on-campus classes already take off during Thanksgiving week mean we can take the entire week off and still meet the same total number of days that the college requires of all 5-credit classes in fall term. Doing so allows us to maintain consistent quiz deadlines from week to week (so you are less likely to miss a deadline due to an odd schedule).

So, during Thanksgiving week (Sunday through Saturday, see your class calendar for specific dates) this online class will be on a Thanksgiving holiday week during which there will be NO new material, no class requirements, no required participation, no assignments, no tests. You may post to the holiday week board but questions may not be answered in a timely manner (I will be offline most of the week) and posts will not count toward CPRs. Go enjoy your week off with family and friends and maybe do some review for the final exam.

Course Materials & Grades

Where is the Class Calendar?

Your online classroom (in your CMS) is organized into weekly units or "blocks" as shown below. Click the "Study Unit #" to go to the Class Calendar for that unit's material.

If you want direct access to the Class Calendar without having to enter your classroom at that particular moment, every week/unit is linked from my website for your convenience. Go to Math Online Web >> click the CLASS CALENDARS tab >> click the deadlines chart for your course.

What are the "Lesson Notes"?

I have Lesson Notes for each topic in the course linked from the class calendar. These notes contain a brief overview of the topic, objectives that serve as a checklist so that you know all that you should learn before the quiz, some important terminology, and sometimes some supplemental resources or readings. They help to guide you a bit through the topic. If you don't want to read them you don't have to but they are there just in case.

Note: The lesson notes have generic numbers which do not (necessarily) match the section number in the e-text. The material matches, but not the number. Lesson notes are topic based and intended to be independent of any specific textbook.

What exactly is the homework in this class?

This class has NO graded textbook assignments or traditional homework. Instead points are earned from class participation (CPRs on the weekly discussion board), quizzes, and the final exam (see Math Online Syllabus - Points Chart).

However, success in mathematics requires regular practice, so you should work daily practice problems. For these I recommend that in each section you work the tutorial exercises suggested in your MyMathLab Study Plan until you achieve "mastery". Take advantage of the self-help features such as "show me an example" and "help me solve this". However, these exercises have no deadlines, are not graded, and do not earn points (directly). See What is the "Study Plan" in MyMathLab?

The time you invest in regularly practicing problems will pay off on the tests which have the same type of questions written in the same format. You are all adults with complicated schedules (the last thing you need is "busy work"). You know that in order to succeed in a math class you have to find the time to actually work math problems on a regular basis and I'm not going to "force" you to do that. Whether you do or not will be evident on the quizzes!

Will the course materials be available throughout the course or be taken down?

Most of the course materials are available to participating students throughout the term. Exceptions include worksheets, formula sheets, and some handouts which may only be available during the week in which they are listed on the calendar.

The discussion boards will be available throughout the course. However, since Clark no longer provides a server on which faculty can post documents or images publicly, access to files housed off the Clark server or links to external sites cannot be guaranteed including images embedded in a DB post that are actually links to external image files.

If I withdraw from the course can I still access the course materials?

No. If you withdraw from or stop attending the course your access to the CMS, MyMathLab, and all other course materials will be discontinued. However, if you complete the class see How can I access MML after the class ends?.

Why aren't any extra credit points available?

College students are expected to complete the content as required by the course curriculum and syllabus. It is considered a higher-ed “best practice” to grade all students in the course on the same assessments uniformly. Therefore, I do not offer nor accept formal extra credit assignments.

Remember that the class has a couple safety nets thrown in to help balance a bad week or two (lowest two quizzes eliminated, freebie CPR week, per syllabus). Be as consistent in your work throughout the course as you can, earn as many of the points available as you can, every point counts evenly, rack them up and earn your grade!

What do A,B,C letter grades really mean?

A = Clearly stands out as excellent performance. Accomplishes far more than the minimum requirements. Has unusually sharp insight into material and initiates thoughtful questions. Integrates ideas previously learned from this and other disciplines. Anticipates next steps in progression of ideas. Rarely makes any mistakes. “A” work is of such a distinguished caliber that it could be put on reserve for all students to review and emulate.

B = Grasps subject matter at a level considered to be very good. Accomplishes more than the minimum requirements. Is an active listener and participant in class discussion. Articulates subject matter well both verbally and in written form. "B" work indicates a high quality of performance and consistently solid work. Earning a "B" should be considered a high level of achievement.

C = Demonstrates a satisfactory comprehension of the subject matter. Accomplishes the minimum course requirements and objectives. Communicates the subject matter at an acceptable level for a college student. "C" work meets a generally adequate understanding of all basic concepts.

What etiquette guidelines must I follow when posting to the class discussion boards?

When posting a message to the class discussion boards use good threaded discussion "netiquette" such as:

- Use appropriate clear subject lines.
- Focus on one subject or problem per message.

- Reply to messages within that thread and start new threads for new topics only.
- Be professional, courteous, constructive, friendly, and supportive. Think before you hit send!
- Avoid using all caps since it is generally viewed as SHOUTING.
- Use humor carefully. The absence of face-to-face cues can cause statements to be misinterpreted as criticism or flaming.
- Using emoticons such as :) or ;-} may help you express your feelings.
- Flaming (angry, antagonistic criticism) will not be tolerated!!! Let's all treat each other with respect.
- Give credit where credit is due. Cite all graphics, images, quotes, references, and sources.
- Do not include religious or political statements or references in your message including your signature.

[These guidelines were adapted from: Rinaldi, Arlene, "The Net User Guidelines and Netiquette", Florida Atlantic University, 1994.]

New to online academic discussions? Here are additional Core Rules of Netiquette if you need them.

What does "HTH" mean and other internet acronyms?

HTH = Hope That Helps. TIA = Thanks In Advance. FWIW = For What It's Worth. You will see these and other internet acronyms come up sometimes in class postings. A useful site for looking-up internet acronyms with which you are unfamiliar with is acronyms.silmaril.ie. Just type in the acronym like HTH and then hit "search for an acronym". acronyms.thefreedictionary.com also has a very complete list of common acronyms with search engine.


Studentism Tips

I have math anxiety. Do you have any suggestions to help?

Math anxiety can be a debilitating problem, but one that you can work to overcome! It often comes from bad experiences with math in the past, not having a positive attitude (e.g. saying to yourself that you "can't do it" or that your "brain isn't wired for math" are real killers!), and being ill-prepared / not practicing enough / not truly putting in quality study time. There are several well researched things you can do to relieve math anxiety. Some suggestions:

I have test anxiety. Do you have any suggestions to help?

The Clark College Career and Employment Services Center runs "Test Anxiety" and "Test-Taking Tips and Strategies" workshops every quarter under their "Student Success Workshops" program. These are free seminars and well worth taking advantage! See www.clark.edu/enroll/careers/events/success_workshops.php for schedule.

In addition or instead you can schedule a private meeting (again a free service) with a Clark College counselor. The person who runs the test anxiety workshop is Tani McBeth. You can call the Clark College Counseling Center to set up a 30 minute appointment with her to assist you with test anxiety avoidance strategies. Any of the counseling staff are available for appointments -- see www.clark.edu/campus-life/student-support/counseling for contact info.

On a personal note, I suffer test anxiety. I can be well prepared for a test but as soon as it starts I feel like I am going to black out. I wish I could say it got better during my college years but for me it got worse. The more important the class/text the worse I suffered. Argh! But there were some things that helped so here are my tips for what they are worth. Don't cram - study and prepare early but don't study within 24 hours of a test if you can avoid it. Organizing notes though is a comforting helpful thing to do on that last day. In preparing notes I take my "complete" wordy notes, reduce them to a single page, then the main points to a notecard, on which I highlight important phrases. (Then when taking the test the phrase reminds me of the statement on the card that takes me back to the paragraph on the page that takes me back to the section in my original notes.) Right before the test I take a brisk walk to clear my fears then have a quick healthy snack. During the test sucking a lollipop is helpful. I know it sounds silly (and unhealthy), but there is something calming about it. Lastly, keep a positive attitude! You can do this and anyway, it's only a test, really! (Did I just say that?!)

Plagiarism & Citing Sources

What can I do to avoid plagiarism (including of images) in postings?

To avoid plagiarism you must cite all sources used in your post including graphics. Do not copy-and-paste into a post from another source. Instead put the information into your own words. See Clark College Cannell Library "Plagiarism and How to Avoid It" for more information. If you share an image in the classroom that you did not create yourself you MUST cite it's URL or original source.

What is the proper way to cite resources (including electronic) in postings?

A nice summary of the correct formats is available at Clark College Cannell Library "Citing Sources". You should follow either MLA or APA style citation formats. The Citation Machine uses a simple web form to help you format MLA or APA style citations.

Is it acceptable to cite Wikipedia as a source?

No, Wikipedia and other wiki sites are not academically viable and should not be cited as a source. Wikipedia.com and other similar resources (eg. ask.com, answers.yahoo.com, infoplease.com, etc.) may provide a jumping-off place for your research, but you may not rely on these sites exclusively since the authors are often anonymous and the information posted does not come under a formal oversight or peer-review process and thus may not be accurate. In fact a wiki page can be changed by anyone at any moment, further adding to its unreliability as a source. You are responsible for the accuracy of any facts you present in class and you should confirm the veracity of information you find on non-academic sources through further research and then include the corroborating site in your research citations.