Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Math classes include online tutoring lab

MyMathLab part of Rio Salado math classes.

“Remember sitting in math class completely lost wishing your instructor would slow down or start over.

Imagine if your instructor came with a pause or rewind button.

Guess what, at Rio Salado College online math classes do. The classes include a state-of-art program called MyMathLab. In MyMathLab, students stymied by an abstract concept can hear the video explanation again and again and even pause the program to improve understanding.
The program includes numerous ways to get help, said Rio Salado Math Faculty Chair John Jensen. The resources are very complete, as they contain thousands of videos, sample exercises and many different ways to review and practice.

Donna Hazlewood, 47, hadn’t taken a math class for more than 20 years when she started back to school taking her prerequisites for nursing. Since that time she’s taken three online math classes using MyMathLab and has become a fan of the online tutoring program.
“I have learned a lot. It walks me through the steps so I can learn how to do the problems. So far I am doing pretty well,” said Hazlewood.

At Rio Salado all math classes from the very basic arithmetic to the challenging calculus include an online textbook complete with MyMathLab, the online tutoring lab.
Intriguing lectures captured on video, and concise and clear demonstrations and appealing practice tests make solving equations painless.

Initially Rio Salado college algebra student Mary Echtinaw called her instructor to drop the class. But with a few pointers from the instructor on how to use MyMathLab she’s sailing through quadratic equations, logarithms and rational exponents.
“MyMathLab was excellent. It taught me more than I would have ever learned in class,” said Echtinaw, who is working on earning a business degree.

“I really liked the problem simulation and you know immediately if you got it right,” said Echtinaw.

Need help with the concept of real numbers? Click on a short video clip. Still fuzzy about the concept? Click on the demonstration and watch the online computer screen flash through the problem. Ready to solve the problem? Click on a practice problem and get immediate feedback.
With the online format unlike the in-person class, students set the pace, not the teacher.
“You can control what’s going on in the lecture environment. Students can really solidify and review the content before taking an exam,” said Jensen.

One of the biggest advantages of taking the online math classes is the convenience and flexibility.
Hazlewood, a paramedic in Camp Verde, wouldn’t be in college without the online format.
“One of the main reasons I take online is there is no school near me. The closest school is Prescott plus I have a family and I work quite a lot. This is the only way to do it on my schedule,” said Hazelwood.

Echtinaw works full-time and has two daughters, 12 and nine months. Online classes have worked out well.

Rio Salado offers 15 math classes from basic arithmetic MAT082 to MAT241 –Calculus III. More than 5,000 students are enrolled in the classes. Classes start every Monday. For registration or more information call 480-517-8540 or go to www.riosalado.edu/registration
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