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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., C.O.E. (Internationally Certified Online Educator; Certified Clark eLearning Professional)
Preferred name: Prof. Keely (she/they)
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. The root of mathematical study is to consider different perspectives, manipulate visuals, find patterns, and use reason and logic to better understand our natural world. 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 online course structure is built on Universal Design for Learning principles that eliminate undue hurdles in the learning process (I am UDL certified and an early adopter). My role is to provide an organized curriculum with valuable resources and facilitate your learning through guided activities in a challenging, meaningful, encouraging atmosphere. Students and professor form a collaborative learning community where we all enthusiastically engage in the teaching and learning experience. I provide 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, and the use of current technologies to enhance our critical thinking. I expect students to work hard and ask questions to which I will respond promptly, clearly, and supportively. 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 40 years. I chose to teach at community college because I believe in the power of a diverse, equitable, inclusive, public liberal arts education. By supporting students from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and ages in meeting or exceeding their goals, I am rewarded. I'm vested in each student's achievement as together we embark on an ed-venture :)

May I read the professor's DEIJA commitment statement?

In solidarity with black, indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC), LGBTQIA2S+, individuals with disabilities, and marginalized student communities, I stand committed to fighting systemic racism and bias, and advancing DEIJA (diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, accessibility) in higher education. I believe immigrants (including undocumented) and people of colour provide our colleges and country culture, character, strength, and ingenuity. I value you as you are, care about your well-being and academic success, and truly welcome you in class :)

You and I are integral members of the Clark College community. 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 your best.

What is the professor's personal mission statement?

My personal mission statement is, "To empower transformation through education, science, passion, and action."

My personal mission.

If you want to write your own statement there is a lot of advice on the internet, but one page that helped me was Indeed: How to Write a Personal Mission Statement.

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. The FAQs below provide useful details.

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

Email is the best way to reach me privately or urgently. I am available to students via email Monday through Saturday 10am to 10 pm. So that your email filters to top priority and forwards to my cell phone, please follow these simple format rules:

IMPORTANT! Email Format Rules:

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 pertinent, your CTCLink ID.

I teach several online classes and can get hundreds of 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. 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. For help accessing your Clark Student Email account see FAQs - Info about Clark Student Email Accounts.

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

Can I Canvas message the professor, instead of email?

Please do NOT "message" me through Canvas's "inbox", nor Canvas's gradebook, email me instead.

Screenshot of Canvas inbox crossed out.

WHY did I make this choice? Email works best for helping me help you. Specifically (1) I want to receive your message wherever I am and reply exceptionally promptly, (2) Canvas messages are not easily searchable or archivable, (3) Canvas messages do not allow math notation (eg. LaTeX) or embedded images, and (4) Canvas does not notify me if you message me through the gradebook (or reply to my feedback there) so I simply would never know.

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 (Schedule). I am available asynchronously via:

EMAIL: To reach me privately or urgently 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, per email format rules) email promptly, usually within a few hours, certainly within 24 hours, except Sunday.

DISCUSSION BOARD: Content questions should be posted to the “Q&A Discussion Board” in our Canvas class (not emailed to me directly) so that everyone can benefit from the conversation. This is a great place to get help with mathematics problems! I check-in there regularly (a couple of times a day Monday through Saturday) and students are encouraged to engage in the discussions and assist one another. This is a public board, so please do not post a private question there (e.g. concerning your grade).

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

ONLINE OFFICE HOURS are conducted via live SMS texting (no video, no Zoom) three hours a week (8-8:50am MWF per Schedule) during which you can text me anytime (no appointment needed). Send text to 360.992.2509 during these hours and I will respond immediately so we can "chat" in live time. Sessions are limited to up to a 20-minute block in order to provide opportunities for several of my 100+ students to have the ability to meet with me synchronously at least once per term.

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

SUMMER TERM: No scheduled office hours are held during summer term.

What tutoring services are available?

Clark Virtual Tutoring Center offers a variety of ways to connect with a mathematics 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 on Clark's main campus.

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

What is meant by "week" and "unit"?

The course content is broken into 10 "units" each covering a small chunk of material (typically 2-5 sections in the text). In fall/winter/spring terms each of the 10 weeks covers one unit of material. Each "week" ends on Saturday. In summer term, which is less than eight weeks long, the same 10 units of content are compressed so that each unit is covered in about four days. (watch class calendar carefully).

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

Late work earns zero credit! Tests, assignments, discussions, etc. cannot be made up even in the event of technical difficulties. So, don't procrastinate just in case! If any class website 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 and Native American Heritage Days holiday week?

NO! Since this online class works through 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 and Native American Heritage Days week to compensate. Those two along with the three days that on-campus classes already take off this 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 full-week holiday during which there will be NO new material, no class requirements, no assignments, no tests. Go enjoy your week off with family and friends (Friends-Giving anyone?), catch-up on your WA assignments (if needed), and do some prep for the Final Exam.

During these dates I may check email occasionally but will not be logging into Canvas. You may post to the Q&A Board, but I won't be responding during the holiday week. Please do help each other out if you see a post there. Happy break!

Course Materials & Grades

Where is the Class Calendar? -- THIS FAQ IS OUT-OF-DATE! --

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 / Resource Notes"?

I provide Lesson Notes (a.k.a. Resource Notes) for each topic in the course. They are housed on my website and linked from the relevant topic the online classroom. These notes contain a brief overview of the topic, topic-level learning objectives that serve as a checklist so that you know all that you should learn, important terminology and/or formulae, supplemental resources (e.g. videos, readings, useful links), and may include comments related to the textbook readings. While not required, they serve as a guide to the topic and provide extra resources if needed.

What are the "Mini-Lectures & Examples"?

I provide Mini-Lectures and Examples for each topic in the course (written notes, sometimes with video added). They are housed in WAMAP (password-protected) and linked from the relevant topic in the online classroom. These took me years to develop and I update them regularly. Similar to "attending lecture" in a non-online class, you are expected every unit to login, read through the materials, and take a few notes. Make them a regular part of your personal learning plan!

What exactly is the homework in this class? -- THIS FAQ IS OUT-OF-DATE! --

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?!)

Academic Dishonesty, Plagiarism, & Citing Sources

What is academic dishonesty and how do I avoid it?

Please read Clark College's statement on academic dishonesty for definition, avoidance strategies, consequences, and resources.

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 (e.g. 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.