[Numeracy 485] Response & Essentials for productive learning

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Istas, Brooke IstasB at cowley.edu
Thu Aug 12 18:49:48 EDT 2010

Hello Susan and All!

I love the idea of an on-line program that "incorporates all kinds of
concrete references." I wish more instructor would do that in the
face-to-face classes, too. I was speaking to a rather "new" adjunct
instructor who teaches Pre-Algebra for the community college and she was
mesmerized by the idea of teaching fundamental basics utilizing
real-world application because she had always taught straight content
from the book. It seems that several on-line program deliver content
but miss that "concrete reference". So the learner memorizes and then
just regurgitates it back onto a test; not really learning the concepts
of the chapter. That's why I feel it is essential to have discussion
posts in an on-line class. After all, there would be classroom
discussion (hopefully) in a face-to-face class. I teach approximately
ten on-line classes each semester. They consist of ABE, ASE, and
miscellaneous college-level courses. I have taught then with discussion
and without discussion board postings. My observation is that
communication is essential to student learning in an on-line
content-rich environment. As you said, "on-line programs are tools,"
the utilization of this tool with other tools in the toolbox are what
create productive learning environment. .

Thank you for your posting! What do others think? What other "tools"
are essential for building a productive learning environment? I can
think of several....one is even needed here on this discussion list,
SAFETY. I do not mean it in the physical sense but in the emotional
sense. Math is a pretty intimidating subject to many people; some of us
may have forgotten or may have never felt the feeling of inadequacy that
math (the subject), math instructors, Ph.D. math professors, placed on
you or a learner. I can still remember how I felt the first time a math
professor made me cry just as vividly as if it happened today. It was
such a bad experience for me that I left graduate school that same
semester and refused to finish my degree there. I think about that
moment a lot because so many low-level learners quit on their education
because similar circumstances....because they no longer feel safe to
speak up in class and say, "I don't understand" or "Help!" My situation
was different because I did finish up my graduate degree, just at a
different university. So, what other "tools" are essential for
building a productive learning environment? Please feel "safe" to
comment your thoughts, feelings, experiences on this discussion list.

Brooke Istas

Here's a new Math puzzle...

A closed rectangular box has a surface area of 1000 square cm. Its
length is twice its width, and its height is six times its width. What
is its volume?

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