Math 647 Introduction: About this Class (Course Syllabus Information)

Things to know about this course:

First, a story:

Once upon a time, a professor was asked to teach a summer course on math for elementary education for graduate students who had a hard time fitting in daytime during-the-semester courses. But, she said, I won't be here in the summer. Couldn't you teach it online? was the next request. After several such repeated requests, the professor said yes.

Then the professor met with the students who were to take this course for the first time. What, she asked, would be most useful content wise? All topics at a grade 5-7 level or a few topics at all grades (K-6 or 7). Fewer topics, more grades was the consensus, thus the course would be only number and operations and not geometry, statistics, measurement, etc.

Next, the professor warned: this class will be a lot of work. The content coverage, number of assignments and exams will be roughly equivalent to that of the undergraduate 4-credit course. Please, said the first year of students, 4 credits is very expensive--couldn't you justify calling it a 3-credit course since as graduate students we should be able to absorb the same material more efficiently. OK, said the professor, and thus it was submitted as a 3-credit course.

The moral of the story: this course is at least 4-credits worth of work. Be ready for it. I hope you are not sad that you only paid for 3 credits of the course and not all 4.

Content and schedule:

We will be looking at number and operations topics from Kindergarten through grade 5 or 6--We will start with a quick look at counting, and then really dig into finding out how children think about and come to understand addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Then we'll build up some of the basic ideas in our base 10 number system, and look at ways to add subtract, multiply and divide with multi-digit numbers (and ways to approach these when teaching) (Unit 2). In Unit 3, we'll look at those same ideas of numbers and operations with fractions. Finally, we'll finish with looking at decimals, percents and ratios (Unit 4).

There is a lot of work, and a lot of assignments in this course. I'm providing tentative due dates for each of these assignments and units. The course really is less stressful if you stay caught up. I know that summers often have vacations and other events built into them, so there's no penalty for late work (or early work!)

If you decide you must procrastinate, make sure you allow at least one week per unit to complete the course. Anything less is, so far as I can tell, impossible. That means you are budgeting at a minimum 4 full weeks (probably 6+ hours per day) for the class and class work.


Read about my policy on redone assignments here

Tests and grades:

There will be a test at the end of each of the 4 units. After you have completed all of the assignments for a unit, you will request the exam for that unit.  At that point, you will have a 48-hour window to complete the exam. You will not be taking a comprehensive final exam for this class (summer 2014)

Assignments and quizzes contribute 25% of your final grade
Tests contribute 75% of your final grade

My default grading scheme is:

A- is 90-92%
A is 93-100%

B- is 80-82%
B is 83-87%
B+ is 88-89%
C- is  70-72%
C is 73-77%
C+ is 78-79%
F is below 60%
D is 60-67%
D+ is 68-69%

I decide at the end whether percentage grades that are, for example, between 92 and 93% are assigned to A- or A (I don't follow a consistent rounding rule).  I usually look at the tests and similar assessments to help me make that decision.  I also (very occasionally) will raise all or some of the grades if I feel that the work you have done shows a greater understanding of the subject than the percentage reflects, but I don't do the opposite: if your percent puts you at a particular grade, you may be sure that I will not lower your grade, even if you did say something clueless on the last test.

Discussions and extra credit:

I'll be holding a weekly online discussion Thursday nights at 6 pm (This time may be changed--I'll email you and let you know if it changes). You'll get an email invitation about 5:45. Click on the link, sign in to D2L, install what it says to install, say yes to the various things, and you will end up in a D2L online room. Come ready to listen, ask and answer questions.

The discussions are optional, but you can earn up to 5 extra credit points per week by attending and being prepared (3 points for attending, up to 2 points for preparation assessed by mini-quizzes at the beginning and end of the session). Maximum extra credit from discussions sessions is 50 points. (These count as "homework" points, but it is possible to get more than 100% in the homework category

Technology tools

I'm going to embed these into the to-do's for the first several weeks as we go along, but here's the overview:

More tech notes, and some useful links can be found here

If you have any other questions you would like to have answered in this document, send them my way. 

AssignmentAssignment for this lesson: Take the D2L Quiz: Syllabus Questions.These are all questions about information that is (I believe) on this page. You may regard this as an open-book quiz (you may come back and reread this page as you take the quiz). You may retake this quiz (though I really hope that won't be necessary). This quiz has the one and only purpose of making sure that you read this page of information.