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Northwest Missouri State University


Mary Sheppard

Mary Sheppard

Dr. Mary Shepherd
Associate Professor-Math Department
My Math Lab Online Curriculum

This fall College Algebra students will have access to a new mode of learning. Course sites for these classes will incorporate Pearson's My Math Lab series for College Algebra. Dr. Mary Shepherd piloted these labs during the spring 2009 trimester trying both the etextbook and the hard copy textbook in one section of College Algebra.

The My Math Lab series for College Algebra provides online lessons, including short video lectures on various topics. Interactive problems are used to assist the students in learning the content. The etextbook and online homework were integrated into the eCompanion system where the students could login and open the etextbook and online homework (My Math Lab) at the same time. The etextbook pages were identical to the pages in the hard copy textbook (because they were .pdf files), but had additional features-videos and "Now Try It" problems. The videos were available for some of the examples and concepts and there was a chapter opener video that gave an overview of that section. The "Now Try It" problems were ones that were very similar to the examples in the book.

About half way through the trimester, Dr. Shepherd had students come to her office to read the textbook online and explore some of its additional features such as watching the videos and working on the assigned online homework as they were reading the text. She had designed the course so that every time the book had an indication of a similar homework problem (a pencil icon with Now work problem ##) there was an online homework problem assigned, so the "Now Try It" problems were not as crucial for the students, but she did encourage them to have both the textbook and online homework open as they were reading so they could work the homework as they were reading, and some actually indicated they did this.

Many students commented that they really liked the videos and some even continued to view them as they were studying. Dr. Shepherd felt that several of the students preferred the etextbook version since that meant lugging around one less book. In the classroom, she found that she could project directly from the computer the textbook pages or (turn-in) homework assigned when the students had questions. Dr. Shepherd felt that with the different levels of comfort with the technology, it is important to have both online and hard copy versions available as we transition to etextbooks. And etextbooks with integrated homework/videos/animations or other learning aids are the way to go, at least for entry level mathematics courses.

Additional My Labs are available in other content areas. You can check out the My Labs series from Pearson at http:// http://www.pearsonhighered.com/elearning/mylabs/ If you are interested in learning more about the My Lab series, please contact Darla Runyon in the CITE Office at x-1532 or drunyon@nwmissouri.edu