Category Archives: Miscellaneous

They Want To Eat Your Brain!

Over the past few months, I have been watching episodes of “The Walking Dead” on AMC via Netflix. Like many people, I found the story interesting and the evolution of zombies fascinating. Over the past few years, the use of the term “zombie” has gone way beyond the undead popularized by George A. Romero’s film “Night of the Living Dead” (1968). We have zombie computers, zombie systems in the brain, zombie apocalypse, zombie walks, zombie agents…you name it. The word “zombie” is no longer simply a noun. It is used to describe things that work automatically without our conscious knowledge. In my profession, teaching, a few educators have applied zombie to a certain class of students they call “zombie learners”.

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More On Using Google Calendar for a Class Schedule

Google Calendar ImageThe past two weeks has been consumed with prepping classes for the fall semester. With the amount of content I have at http://www.whyseemath.com, I do less content preparation and more planning. My primary task is to set up the calendar for the entire semester in each of the three classes I teach, College Algebra, Finite Mathematics, and Survey of Calculus. Last semester I tried using Google Calendar to organize my personal work schedule as well as the calendars for  THe each of these classes. It worked great for me and now I am starting to delve into best practices…how can I improve what I am doing?
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Link to WhySeeMath.com RSS Feed

whyseemath_001Occasionally visitors to this site ask me about the websites I use for the classes I teach. This website is my faculty oriented website. My students use whyseemath.com to access videos, worksheets, and other resources for college algebra, finite math, and calculus. In fact, the site is embedded in the entry page they see when they log into their course at MyLabsPlus.

The front end is designed for messages oriented to all of my students. I typically like to post interesting applications of mathematics that would be of interest to my students. Along the right side of the page are RSS feeds from the blogs for each class.

By clicking on the link along the top of the page, you can access the blogs for individual classes as well as a resource page for constructing research posters. Each individual class blog has a feed from the main Why?See!Math page so that they can see updates.

Along the right side of this page, I have added an RSS feed from the main Why?See!Math page so that visitors here can see the posts I am making. You will always find some interesting links and articles…I follow a number of websites and I often put up links to Wired or NPR when I find something that relates to one of my classes.

How to Make a Class Calendar in Google Calendar

Each semester I try to make my classes a little better than the previous semester. I try to be more efficient and to use technology in a way that makes me more accessible to students. For many years, I have used Word to make a basic class calendar with all of the due dates. I posted the calendar online as a PDF file. This calendar was convenient for my students since they could print it out and annotate it with their own schedule as needed. However, it is limited since updates require me to upload the entire calendar again. It also only shows the deadline with no other information.
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Mail Merge for Mathematicians (and anyone else)

The newest incarnation of MyLabsPlus does not contain a seamless way of giving students feedback on offline assignments. In my case, my students complete weekly technology assignments and project write ups that might require some personalized feedback. Sending each student an individual email would take a lot of time. However, sending a somewhat standard email with a few personalized comments may be done using mail merge in Microsoft Office.

This document shows how I used Word to email my students feedback on the projects they turned in. I downloaded the student’s names and email addresses from MyMathLab and saved them as an Excel file. Then I added columns headings for the information I wanted to record as I graded the projects. I am able to enter scores and comments in the Excel file. You could also download MyMathLab homework and quiz information into the Excel file and include it in the email.
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