Wrap-Up of the Fall 2012 Conference Season

Note: This post got lost in e-land and is just now making its way to the Internet. As the end of this semester approaches, I have decided that I need to take a few moments to just get some ideas and thoughts out of my mind from the conferences that I have attended this fall.  Here is a short wrap-up of some of the events that I have attended this semester. This semester I presented at the Michigan Center for Student Success Summit.  My biggest takeaway from this conference is the fact that other colleges are way ahead of my college in terms of their student success initiatives.  I want to look into creating a student success class that is linked with my college’s pre-algebra course.  I think the advantage to having it as a separate, but linked, course instead of simply weaving study skills into the pre-algebra course lies in the fact that it is easier to monitor that the teacher...
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My Experience with Spotify Premium

I was skeptical at first.  My previous experience with Pandora wasn’t the best.  I couldn’t listen to any song that I wanted to, but I could create an artist radio, where without fail, 5 songs in I would be turning off the music because Pandora would be suggesting something absolutely awful.  And why not just skip over the song?  Well, with Pandora you only get so many skips per day.  Then Google Music came along for a while.  I could listen to any song I wanted to, but only once.  That was a weird phase that Google had.  I’m glad it’s gone (or at least I can’t easily find it anymore by simply using Google to search for a song). When I first heard about Spotify, I couldn’t believe that there was a music service available where I could listen to any song at any time.  But it’s absolutely true.  Spotify carries most songs.  Spotify’s search engine...
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Traverse City Beach Bums Baseball

While at the MCTM conference in Traverse City, MI, I went to 3-game series at Wuerfel Park between the Traverse City Beach Bums and the Windy City Thunderbolts.  Before this summer, I hadn’t even heard of the Traverse City Beach Bums.  I know, it may seem a little strange, but who really follows the Frontier League anyway? The first night at the park, I arrived about 1-hour early because I didn’t know how crowded the parking lot would be or how long I would have to wait at the Will Call window in order to pick up my tickets.  It turns out that it really wasn’t that crowded at all and 1-hour was more than enough time to find a parking spot, pick-up my tickets, walk around, get some food, and comfortably settle into my seat before the game began.  The parking is only $2 per car, but I found out later that you can park on...
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Indian Mathematicians Library Fair

Since I am new at my college, I was told that it is expected that all new faculty members are on a committee.  Apparently I found out that message a little too late because when I asked if there were any committees that were still open to join, there were none except for the college’s Multicultural Initiatives committee. I didn’t know much about this committee except for what I had heard at department meetings.  We have some faculty in the math department who are all about integrating multicultural initiatives and service learning into the classroom and we have other faculty who could care less.  I always wanted to try integrating some sort of project into my classes, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Joining the Multicultural Initiatives committee helped to give me a different perspective and helped me to realize that we’re not in a want-to-try situation.  We are in a do-or-die situation.  Students need to have...
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MCTM Conference Wrap-Up and Evaluation

This year I went to the Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) Summer Conference and Institute in Traverse City, MI.  It was my first year attending the statewide conference and my first time ever driving to Traverse City. Overall, the conference was a good and very profitable experience.  I learned a lot from the presenters.  The sessions that I attended include:  ·         Why People Trust Statistics  ·         Free Algebra II Moodle Course  ·         Parametrics: One of the calculator’s most robust and lesser used modes I also presented during two sessions: ·         Teaching Important Concepts through the Use of Games in the Classroom ·         College Math Curriculum – It is Changing! And I learned a lot from the vendors and exhibitors as well.  As a college instructor, sometimes I feel as if I get more from the vendors than from the presenters.  This is because I get to hear about all of the newest books, software, and products and then I can pass that...
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The Search for a New Learning Management System

We use ANGEL at my college and I’m not happy about it.  I bet you’re not happy with your Learning Management System (LMS), either.   I don’t need to give you my list of grievances, but I’m going to anyway: ·         When I log-in to ANGEL, there’s a ‘What’s New’ panel that shows you what is new (e.g., any new posts by students) since the last time you logged in.  This is nice, except they won’t appear in the list the next time you log-in.  What ANGEL really needs is a ‘What’s unread’ panel that lists everything that is still unread, regardless of if it is new since the last time you logged in.  Or even better, it simply needs to list all of the activity (old or not) in a panel when you log in. ·         ANGEL is not very friendly with math.  My IT department even admitted it.  They told me that the best way to do...
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My Experience at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Note:  This was a trip that I field trip that I took my Math For Education students on during the Winter 2012 semester.  The original reason for the visit is that we were promised that there would be a display about African American Mathematicians at the museum.  However, that display was not there.  My students were asked to leave the group, just as I was. On Saturday, March 24, 2012, I attended the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.  I didn’t know what to expect before I attended the museum.  The only African American History that I can ever remember learning about is through textbooks, television, the Internet, and through African American History Month activities that were done in school.  I had ever been fully immersed in an entire exhibit solely dedicated to African American History.  I didn’t know if I would agree or disagree with the viewpoint of what was presented in the exhibit,...
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Supplemental Instruction Update

This semester I piloted supplemental instruction (SI) sessions for my 2 sections of statistics.  If you’re not familiar with the idea of SI, it is essentially 1 free hour of free help for the students before every class.  There was an SI leader assigned to each of my classes that sat in on the class and then assisted the students during the sessions.  The leaders answered any questions that the students had and encouraged the students to work together to solve the problems. The results of the sessions were staggering and I have summarized them in the infographic below.  The most interesting to me was that 76% of the students who attended the sessions responded that the sessions helped them feel more connected to the college.  Even on this basis alone, if you’re not using some form of SI at your college, you really need to consider using it.  My college seems to agree with me, as...
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My New Interest: Detroit Tigers Baseball

I want to take a minute to expand upon my current obsession with Detroit Tigers Baseball.  From as far as I can remember, I never really had a hobby or anything that I would do regularly for leisure.  Immediately after high school, I went to college.  Every summer during college I came home and took classes at the local community college.  Immediately after college, I went to graduate school.  During graduate school, I took summer classes and worked during the summer.  After graduate school, I started working part-time at six different colleges simultaneously.  Yes, one semester I taught 38 credits combined between all of the colleges. The point is that I have worked hard for the majority of my life without a summer break or evenings and weekends free for as long as I can remember.  So, as far as I am concerned, this new full-time position I have right now has been treating me very, very...
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