Baseball and Not Baseball

What I Learned This Week

AMATYC Saturday


The general session link is posted separately. It was entertaining, but not applicable broadly.

I saw what the Dana Center was doing. A report is available. They always could lead to a resource for Math 081. J. Phelps- who we used as a consultant- is willing to send us a list of things to consider when making changes with regard to communications and assessment. I will share when it arrives.



Resource Link for Morning General Session

20131102-090431.jpg and WebAssign #amatyc


We (HFCC) really need to look at Openstax. Over the next two years we can save all students $100+ dollars as books are developed. This is a huge takeaway from the conference.

You can still have online homework through WebAssign.

Vendor Visit AMATYC


Openstax, a free textbook provider, will have online homework support. Look for roll outs over the next few years.

ALEKS is better tied to courses. There are not huge resource lists when a student wants help on a problem.

Hawkes finally has an online product. They may be worth considering again.

Some Pearson titles (Tobey/Slater/Blair) have iPad instruction. It doesn’t look ready for prime time, but may be soon.

Casio still has better calculators at a lower price than TI. We probably still won’t adopt them.

Friday at AMATYC


I’ll probably post session summaries into Notability files and put their links here today. This will allow me to take better notes. Also, since I don’t have Wifi in the conference areas anymore I can’t easily live update.

Here is what I plan to attend:

Mirtova will speak about Financial Literacy Projects for Financial Mathematics. I hope this is relevant to our new Math 131 course.

Mellon will speak about using mathematics to teach financial Literacy. This could be relevant in Math 081 (pending approval) or Math 131.

The Midwest Regional Luncheon is today. This is a session dedicated to networking and finding volunteers for the positions needed to run the organization. I’m unlikely to take notes about that session.

I will attend a corporate session about one of the books we may use for Math 081 (pending approval). I hope to learn how others use the book and any criticisms or suggestions that they have.

(I will attend a session by Clark and Anfinson about activities they use in algebra courses. This isn’t a ‘big picture’ session. I hope to hear about a few things I haven’t tried yet.)¬†Oops- the McGraw-Hill Session ran long.

Math Anxiety (AMATYC General Session)


The general session is by Tobias. I had no expectation of what I’d learn going into the session.

Tobias summarized her well-known work rather than give a witty or rah rah speech. It was good for newbies I’d expect

Adaptive Placement and Remediation (AMATYC Session)


I hope this session by Tonge gives me some big ideas that we might be able to implement at HFCC.

Kent State is the college here. The placement test uses procedural problems. The courses have conceptual problems. They aren’t sure what to do about that. They use the ACT. It has two humps in the math distribution.

Students in pre-algebra or algebra tend to have lower hump scores. So cross-indexing with Compass does not do much good. It’s about the same. Both are poor indicators. ACT has an indicator of 0.2. I think he means r2.

High school GPA is a better predictor. It correlates with doing homework perhaps.

They now have an adaptive course. Students can accept placement. Or they can work on materials and take a second assessment. The claim is that only about 30% can order decimals or find areas of rectangles.

They find that a student who knows between 15% and 35% can do OK in the course. I think “knows” means answered that percent of the classification’s questions right.

They notice that Q1 of next class >= Q3 of prior class for any given chunk of knowledge. Q is quartile.

If students work 10-30 hours they are 50% likely to improve placement. Not that many students work and reassess- around 10%. Second assessments are proctored. The first assessment isn’t.

Emporium- 5 classes at once- 10% accelerate. Grading based on final assessment. They have lead instructors and TA’s.

Overall success in classes went up from 60ish to 70ish based on students enrolled after drop/add period. Success rates in College Algebra and success on CA finals are up. They are not sure if placement or emporium makes the difference since both were phased in at once.

Go to the website. He was nervous about mentioning a commercial product during his session. ALEKS?
The test takes around 75 minutes sometimes although an hour is more common.
Hmmm. Would proctoring that work at HFCC?
I might share this idea with the department. It’s implementation would probably have to wait until we are done with our current reforms.

Knowing what the students know seemed to be the part Tonge was most excited about.

QL Messy Problems (AMATYC Session)


I hope this session by Steenken is applicable to my fall 2015 teaching.

Steenken is an engineer and a former school board member.

Steenken uses messy the way many of us use authentic. He thinks it sounds less stilted.

How he solves, attributes and an example will be the the way we discuss messy problems in this session.

There is a hand out that I have and can share with those of you who want to be messy.

Flowchart- math and technology are tools to solve problems. They are backed by discipline knowledge and skills in reasoning.

2 or more disciplines of knowledge
Two math domains
Requires data
Life training
How to present the answer?

Gas price- didn’t include value of time
Included a follow up on what if you saved the money

This was OK, but not what I expected. I wish there were more focus on how it would work in the classroom.

Audience suggestions:
Field trip costs
Banquet costs
Air conditioning or furnace replacement
Social security 62, 67.5 or 70
Replace the car- borrow and buy now or save and replace later
Someone suggested a bunch of problems from Foley’s book
Change in boiling point due to altitude

Liberal Arts Projects (AMATYC Session)


I hope this session by Roland is directly applicable to my teaching in Winter 2014.

Roland began by discussing the demographics of MLA students. His introduction was brief.

The Duchess Quantitative Literacy course was briefly discussed. They use a customized version of Bennett/Briggs. Roland only uses the My Math Lab component and supplements with his projects.

The class opens with a survey put on the College CMS in a threaded discussion.

The first cooperative assignment is geometry based. It really wasn’t all that deep. It was to find the area of a triangle using the Pythagorean Theorem and unit conversion.

The second project is spending a billion dollars. Basically it is the movie Brewster’s Millions. The project incorporates Excel. I will use a version of this.

As part of the first test students have to find articles about change. The students have a rubric.

The students do statistics and probability using Excel. They make graphs from data. They make one graph of each type in the course. They also find internet data and use Excel’s stat features in a project. They also have to find roulette probabilities and expected values.

They do a stock project. Again it is tied to Excel.

They use an online calculator to to do financial calculations. A URL was given, but I trust my colleagues to Google. They do a retirement calculation project. They discuss amortization.

The students “buy” a house and create various scenarios about refinancing and selling the house. The final project counts as the exam.

You can email Roland for materials and the Power Point. I will do so and I will recommend review of the materials for future teachers of Math 131.

Emporium to College Level (AMATYC Session)


This session by Quesnell I hope will help HFCC avoid some pitfalls for students as we adopt an Emporium model.

The first 10 minutes were about how and why Weber State adopted an Emporium model. Of note tests only counted 30% of student grades (quizzes 30% and homework 30%) so it seems important to track follow up class pass rates to measure real success and learning.

Over 5 years 26% passed the Emporium and 34% passed lecture (successfully remediated). Lecture had better students, but not that much better. Gen Ed QL course had same enrollment and pass rates after successful remediation.

Since then Weber increased lab time requirement, eliminated roll overs, increased mini-lectures (mathematical discourse), required note-taking, and intervened when students took a quiz too often without asking questions. HFCC’s plan includes all of these except the requirement for mathematical discourse. So we may be starting off right.

WSU has also made a flipped class using the same materials. It seems to be doing well anecdotally.

I wish Weber had more data on whether the interventions have succeeded. A good follow up would be to email Quesnell in 6 months or so and see if with the interventions Emporium has returned to the success rates (or exceeded the success rates) of traditional face-to-face courses.


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