Instructors Are Achieving Success With MathZone
Alina Coronel, Miami Dade College
Selected MathZone For:
I am a full-time professor at the Miami Dade College. I teach all courses from intermediate algebra through the calculus series. Currently, MDC is going through its reaccreditation process, and its Quality Enhancement Plan involves strategies focused on improving student retention and success rates in four math courses. I am chairing the curriculum committee, which includes the strategies online homework, frequent testing, math across the curriculum and supplemental instruction. Before teaching at MDC, I taught high school for 14 years. While a high school teacher, I received extensive training in the CReating Independence through Student owned Strategies Project (CRISS Project). This has proven extremely beneficial in teaching developmental math courses. I received both my Bachelors and Masters Degree from Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
The biggest challenges I face on a day-to-day basis are motivating my students to come to class and teaching them how to study. With MathZone, I can assign homework and enforce a due date to keep my students on a regular homework schedule throughout the term. It also provides an easy way to monitor their grades so I know who needs extra help. Keeping in constant communication with my students is an important part of their success, too. MathZone includes an option to post announcements as well as communicate through a live online chat called the Live Classroom.
Denise Lujan, University of Texas – El Paso
Selected MathZone For:
I am the Director of Developmental Math at the University of Texas at El Paso. I have taught at UTEP for almost seven years. I am working on my Masters Degree in Higher Education and should have this completed by December of 2008. My previous career was as an operations manager for Levi Strauss. I worked in the garment industry for 10 years. When I got laid-off, I started looking for a career that was less stressful and offered me more flexibility with my work schedule. I was lucky enough to gain a part-time position at UTEP and at El Paso Community College. This eventually led to a full-time position with UTEP; the rest, as they say, is history.
I have used MathZone for three to four years and have seen the product evolve. I have also seen our use of MathZone evolve. I started out using MathZone with one Beginning Algebra section; now we run all of our sections, Beginning and Intermediate Algebra, using MathZone. This academic year we are utilizing MathZone without a physical textbook. The book is an on-line component of the course, which means the students access the textbook via the “Link to Text” within their practice problems. We also create our own custom assignments and utilize the master syllabus function with every course that we create. We worked with McGraw-Hill in 2007 and created our own custom website. What this means is that we never have to change books if we don’t want to. One of our biggest challenges has been keeping textbook costs under control. By utilizing MathZone, we have been able to keep costs low for the students. Having access to MathZone is more beneficial to the students than having a textbook. MathZone has multiple help features that the students can access whereas the textbook just has the answers to the odd numbered problems.
Tim Chappell, Penn Valley Community College
Selected MathZone For:
I started college as a double major in math and computer science. I was planning to work in the engineering field until a job as a teaching assistant changed my life. I discovered that I really enjoyed helping others learn. Finishing the undergraduate degree in math with a minor in computer science at Southwest Baptist University, I went on to earn a master’s in math with an emphasis in community college teaching from Pittsburg State University.
I have been teaching math courses at community colleges and universities for 20 years. I have been a math instructor at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City, Missouri for the past 12 years.
I have always felt that if students can see the big picture as well as practice the mechanics, they can and will master the material. The creators of MathZone must think the same. Students usually need some help in doing all or part of their homework, whether it is just confirming the answer or seeing a similar problem worked out. MathZone provides that help for my students. I trust MathZone to help my students fill in the blanks of their understanding through practice homework with those helps enabled. I then assign journal problems for them to communicate that understanding to me. The Connect2 videos provide a nice big picture approach to a new topic. The videos are engaging and well-produced. The videos are also short enough to use in the classroom or to assign before class.