Sunday, August 24, 2014

Getting help at ARC

Every student has had the experience of getting stuck. Not every student enjoys the experience of getting unstuck. In many cases, the solution is as simple as finding the right source of assistance.

1 Ask your teacher. Both in class and in office hours, your instructor will be available to answer questions and will expect questions. Although class time is devoted to learning new material and reviewing old material, it's not just a matter of your teacher telling you things. It should be a discussion, where you feel free to ask questions. Contact the instructor by e-mail when you need to.

2 Visit the Learning Resource Center. The college's LRC offers drop-in tutoring at many different times during the week and is usually fully operational by the second week of class. Don't hesitate to drop in, sign up, and take advantage of the LRC's tutors and assistants.

3 If you're a science, engineering, or math student, go to MESA, the Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement program, which is housed in Room 131.

4 Form your own study group. Your instructor will be passing around a sign-up list for people who want to swap contact information to organize study groups.

5 Talk to a counselor about your education plan and get reliable information about the right classes to take.

6 Visit the Student Services building and get direct assistance from Financial Aid or Disabled Student Programs & Services or many other support programs.

Here is a comprehensive link to ARC Support Services, with individual links to many different programs. If you have not browsed this before, it will be worth a visit: Help

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Frequently asked questions about Math 129

Q. What is Math 129?

A. Math 129 is an accelerated one-semester course that covers the entire algebra curriculum through the level of intermediate algebra. It contains the entire course content of Math 100 (Elementary Algebra) and Math 120 (Intermediate Algebra) and satisfies the prerequisite for any course with an intermediate algebra prerequisite.

Q. Who should take Math 129?

A. Math 129 is designed for exceptionally well-prepared students who can commit to two hours of math in class, five days a week, for an entire sixteen-week semester (plus many additional hours of work outside of class). Successful completion of Math 129 moves you rapidly through the math curriculum and accelerates your access to all of the courses that require algebra. Math 129 is also a good choice for students who previously did well in algebra but are re-entry students who have been away from school for several years and need a comprehensive algebra review.

Q. What is the format of Math 129?

A. Math 129 is a lecture course that meets Monday through Friday from 9:00 till 10:50 (with a 10-minute break). Many in-class quizzes are given; most of them are individual but a few are done as group work. Exams occur approximately every two weeks. Math 129 is not offered in an on-line or hybrid format.

Q. What is the most common problem that Math 129 students run into?

A. The time commitment. The class time (ten hours every week) is just the tip of the iceberg. Math 129 is really two courses in one semester, so expect to double your usual out-of-class study time and homework time. A common mistake is to treat Math 129 like an ordinary single course. It’s not.

Q. Is on-line homework or testing required?

A. Depending on the instructor, on-line homework could be required. However, the instructor assigned to teach Math 129 during the 2013-2014 academic year does not require on-line homework. Homework is assigned from the textbook and collected on exam days. All exams are handwritten exams (no multiple choice tests and no Scantrons) and grading is based on mathematical accuracy, completeness, and the correct use of notation.

Q. What textbook is used for Math 129? Is it required?

A. The current textbook is Elayn Martin-Gay’s Beginning and Intermediate Algebra, 5th edition. The book is required and should be brought to class every day. The course will cover the entire book.

Q. What is the grading policy for Math 129?

A. Most of your grade is determined by the exams. Seven chapter tests are given (with the lowest score dropped), as is a comprehensive final exam (which is never dropped). The chapter tests are 70% of your grade, the final is 15% of your grade, and the homework and quizzes together constitute the remaining 15%.

Q. Is attendance mandatory?

A. Yes. Skipping class is the best way to fall behind and earn a low (or even failing) grade. Reasonable accommodation will be made for emergencies, but students are expected to make their best effort to attend every day. In keeping with Los Rios policy, students will be dropped for excessive absenteeism.

Q. Is extra credit available?

A. Short answer: no. Longer answer: A few (but not many) exams or quizzes will offer optional problems that earn extra points for students who successfully solve them, but Math 129 is not a class where students can compensate for bad exam scores with projects or other alternative assignments.

Q. Is Math 129 offered during summer session?

A. Please tell me you’re kidding!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Know your support services

Get a helping hand
American River College has an extensive array of support services that you should not hesitate to take advantage of. In addition to the direct support you get from your instructor during class time and office hours, ARC offers drop-in tutoring in the Learning Resource Center, academic counseling in the administration building's Counseling Center, and a broad collection of services in the Student Services building. Most of these support services can be quickly found on the college's webpage titled ARC Support Services. There are currently 48 separate entries on that site.

Some of the programs, like the aformentioned Learning Resource Center, have their own website. The hours for drop-in tutoring are posted there. It is also the location for an open computer lab, the Reading Center, and the Writing Across the Curriculum program. Check out ARC's student services and learn about them now rather than later.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Math Student Survival Guide

Although there is no magical secret for succeeding in a math class, there are some things that are universally true. Here's one:

You will not pass your math class
unless you spend enough time on it.

What does “enough time” mean? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some students breeze through math with a minimum of effort and others have to struggle. If you are taking prealgebra or algebra in college, you have probably struggled with math on occasion. If you plan to succeed, you must plan to find the necessary time for reading math, studying math, and doing your math homework. One important tip:

Do some math every day.

There will be days when you just don't have a lot of time. This happens. But do some math anyway, even if it's just 15 minutes of review or solving a homework problem. Doing some math every day is a recipe for success and maintains forward progress. “Saving up” your math for weekends is almost always a mistake.

Here's another important truth:

Students who get stuck need to get help.

It's amazing how many students quietly fail their classes instead of getting help. Community colleges are all about helping students. Even when state funding is tight and budgets are cut, we scramble to provide assistance opportunities to our students. Here's a list:
I apologize for all of the exclamation points. Teachers get a little excited when repeating advice for the millionth time, but be aware of this: We have a lot of experience seeing what works and what doesn't. Your mileage may vary, but some (maybe a lot) of what your teacher says may apply to you.

Be an active learner and take charge of your learning. The teacher can't teach you without your consent and your active participation. Take responsibility for your education.

Course syllabi

If you're looking for our course syllabus, it's available in pdf form from the Box.net widget in the left-hand sidebar. Just click on the one you want and you will be able to download it.

In the sidebar you'll also find some potentially useful links that you may want to try out. The Internet has many kinds of math aids and tutorials, including videos, that might be helpful. For example, click here to see a list of Khan Academy's algebra videos and here for videos on calculus.

Note: The whole point of Quiz 0, which you receive on the first day of class, is to give you some points for showing you know how to follow directions.