John Elliott's Plan/Recommendation on how to use MyMathLab

John Elliott’s TOP TEN Recommendations for Using MyMathLab in the Classroom
Demonstrate MyMathLab in class on the first day and show them some benefits of using the software.
o I have a “practice assignment” in each class that has 3 easy questions in it where I can show them some features. I also tell
them that they need to create their account and go through the “How to enter answers using the MathXL Player” tutorial.
At the beginning of each class, load up MyMathLab and take questions.
o I typically get two or three questions per class. [Frequent due dates can make a big difference in the number of questions
Give an incentive for not doing their homework on scratch paper and throwing it away.
o I make my students keep a “homework notebook” so that they can participate in questions at the beginning of class, and so
that they have something to reference when studying. This is my syllabus statement:
***Make sure to keep your homework neatly organized in a notebook. I will collect the notebook on the first test day and grade
it on neatness and organization. Sections should be labeled, problems should be numbered, and a reasonable amount of work
should be shown.***
Ask students to do problems without “Help Me” features before the test. This can be done with pencil-paper assignments
or in MyMathLab by making a “Part B” or a Quiz. I especially recommend doing this after the first test.
o When I give a MyMathLab assignment with helps turned off, I set a homework prerequisite of 80%.
It is very important to have due dates on each assignment and a late policy. Setting all of the homework due dates on test
dates is easy for the teacher, but a really bad idea if you want students to do the homework.
o When I complete a section of material, I make the homework due on the day of our next class meeting, but I set the time at
midnight so that they can ask questions at the beginning of class and return to their homework. This is my late policy for
this semester: “Homework is due at the beginning of the next class. However, I do understand that a last minute emergency
can occur, so I have a late policy. If you work problems in an assignment after the due date they will be given a 15%
penalty. Problems worked before the due date will not be given a penalty, unless you click the “Similar Exercise Button”.
If you wish to practice homework problems without having any effect on your score, click on the “Only Practice and
Review” option when re-accessing the section.”
o I Only “Assign” [make available to students] one test’s worth of sections at a time. This can keep them focused on keeping
current with the material.
o Late policy settings can be found under:
HW & Test Manager -> More Assignment Tools -> Change Settings for Multiple Assignments
Communicate to students that homework is not optional.
o This is my syllabus statement this semester: “Homework is required and absolutely necessary to succeeding in a math class.
If you don’t practice it, you won’t remember how to do it on the test, final exam, or in your next math or science class. If
you choose not to do the homework (have less than an 85% average), you are communicating to me that you believe you
have already mastered the questions. Therefore, I will not give partial credit on your test. Students should expect to spend
two (or three) hours of study outside of class for each hour in class.”
Work with students that have difficulty with the software.
o If a student says that they hate the software, I will tell them that if after using the software for a month, they still hate it, then
they may do the book assignments instead. [I have had several students extremely excited about this, but most of them don’t
end up doing homework out of the book either – big surprise.]
“Submit Zeros” once or twice per test.
o Submitting zeros for past due assignments allows students to see a more accurate grade. It also allows students to access
past-due assignments regardless of settings (ex: late penalty/late password/assigned/unassigned ).
o This is found under:
GRADEBOOK -> Manage Incompletes
If a student thinks that their answer was correct but marked wrong, make them use the “Ask My Instructor” button.
o It is very common for a student to make a mistake, but be certain that they are correct. It often involves a comma. Here is
an example that one of my students sent me:
“[I] am sorry but my answer matches the correct answer. What is it doing?”
Email a target group of students using MML
o This is found under:
GRADEBOOK -> More Gradebook Tools -> Search/Email by Criteria