YCCD Math-Stats Dept Meeting
Date: Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013
Time: 1000--1600
Venue: CCOF Room C-1
Attendance:
Boyes, Chetra, Clark, Kovacs, Lanier, Noffsinger, Papin, Stemmann, Thoo, Wardlaw
Agenda/minutes
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X) Additions to the agenda or rearrange the topics below?
X1) Third calculus (in addition to Math 1ABC and 9) (Clark)
X2) Specifying grade C of better in course outlines (Chetra)
X3) Deactivate Math 7 yet or not (Thoo)
X4) Stat 1 units and hours (Stemmann)
A) Coordination of hiring and evaluation of adjuncts (Thoo) [20 min]
Thoo had emailed the following ahead of the meeting.
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December 16, 2013 11:23:51 AM PST
It has come to my attention that when an adjunct instructor is evaluated, that evaluation is a district evaluation and not a college evaluation. What do I mean? Here are two examples. 1) If an adjunct instructor has been teaching at YC and now WCC decides to hire him, WCC may not get to evaluate him in his first semester there. 2) A newly-hired adjunct instructor is required to be evaluated in his first three semesters. If he happens to be teaching at both WCC and YC, he would be evaluated by WCC or YC, but not by both, in the same semester. So, it is possible that the person may get a Satisfactory at YC in the first semester, a Needs Improvement at WCC in the second semester, and a Satisfactory by YC in the third semester. That person then would be allowed to continue to teach for YCCD without further evaluations for a while even if he may not have addressed the concerns raised by the Needs Improvement at WCC.
I want to ask y'all, do you see any of this as a potential problem that we ought to head off?
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It was decided that we will send a request to the deans who assign mathematics and statistics classes at WCC and YC to ask that they establish a formal process to inform each other about adjunct instructors when they are hired or evaluated.
Action: Clark will draft a request to be sent to Monica Chahal and Dr Konuwa at WCC and to Dr Masuda at YC; he will also Cc Dr Whitfield and the appropriate deans that oversee Beale, Clear Lake, and Sutter. He will circulate the draft among us before he send it to the deans.
It was also decided that the following policy that YC has adopted [YC mtng Oct 18, 2013] will be uniform at both WCC and YC: An unsuccessful adjunct instructor applicant would have to wait two years before we would consider the person again unless there was evidence that a significant change had occurred for the interested person.
B) Rotation of Department Principal (or chairman or coordinator) (Thoo) [10 min]
Thoo had emailed the following ahead of the meeting.
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December 16, 2013 11:23:51 AM PST
I think it would be good for everyone to have a chance to be the Department Principal, and so I will be proposing that we rotate every three years. That would mean that my service would end after 2014--2015. The person could be from WCC or YC. (Each college, of course, could have its own local principal. At YC I will also propose that we rotate every three years.)
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It was decided that we should maintain the status quo. However, if anyone becomes interested in being the Principal, the person would be afforded the opportunity.
C) Postmortem of common final exams (Thoo, Chetra, Davidson) [30 min]
Thoo had emailed the following ahead of the meeting.
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December 16, 2013 11:23:51 AM PST
I got some good feedback re Math 111. Here they are.
1) Problem 12. "This is a little subtle. A person's 'age in years' is usually whole number, rounded down. Tom is 11 years old if his acutal [sic.] age is 11 years & 1day or 11 years and 364 days. So, 11 1/2 and 34 1/2 would not be the usual way to express a person's 'age in years'. I'd suggest, either making the sum something like 48 so the answers are 12 and 36, or changing it from ages to something like weights ( in Kg. ) of father and son."
2) Problem 14. "Answers is fine, but if the 132 is changed to 133, then the answer is 21 cups and you can just ask ' How many cups .. ' rather than ' About how many cups ... ' Note: I found it interesting the answer is the same as long as the ratio of added dye is 132 to 14 (or 66 to 7 ) -- it could be 66 cups to 7 cups."
3) Problem 20. "(wording of the question) -- change ' ... a calculator, is divisible by 1428. ' to something like ' ... a calculator, determine if 17,353,698,600 is divisible by 1428. '"
And my own observation is that Problem 16 may have been better if it had asked only how many miles long is the perimeter of the property, and not ask further how much time it took to walk the perimeter.
For Math 50 I think there ought to be more room provided for work.
I did not teach Math 52.
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Clark added that he found the Math 52 final exam better this time than before. Notably, there were fewer "layered" problems. He also related that an adjunct instructor had told him that it would have been better to have had a compound interest problem on the final exam instead of the "zombie" problem. Clark also noted that we need to be more careful that the final exam problems are covered in the textbook, which would especially help the adjunct instructors.
Kovacs also noted that this semester's Math 52 final exam was better and more fair than last semester's, but that the problems were still more difficult than those on the homework. There was general agreement.
Clark suggested that we should also have a postmortem of the final exams at the end of the spring semester, and not only at the end of the fall semester at the DMDM. Kovacs suggested that we create a website, for example, where everyone (including adjunct instructors) may post their impressions of the exams while they are still fresh in their minds. It was generally agreed that these were good suggestions.
Kovacs also suggested that the "What to cover..." sheets include examples to inform instructors at what level of rigor or difficulty they should be covering the material. Also, everyone who reviews drafts of the final exams, which includes at least all the full-time instructors whether or not they may be teaching the particular course, should be more careful and conscientious about checking the problems on the final exams for the proper level of difficulty. There was general agreement.
Action:
i) We will solicit feedback on the final exams in the spring semester as well as the fall semester.
ii) We will add examples to the "What to cover..." sheets. Clark and Kovacs will tend to the Math 52 sheet; Chetra and Boyes will tend to the Math 50 sheet; and Lanier and Thoo will tend to the Math 111 sheet.
D) Math 50 and 52 book (Chetra) [30 min]
There was general agreement that Martin-Gay has become increasingly watered down (dumbed down). [This is also noted in the DMDM minutes of Dec 18, 2012.] As a result, we recommitted to searching for an alternative to Martin-Gay. Chetra noted that XYZTextbooks have led him to believe that they can customize their textbooks to the point of adding more challenging material, even though their textbooks currently appear to be pretty basic. The price that Chetra determined is $88 for a printed combined elementary and intermediate algebra textbook that includes online access for one year; the online access includes an e-version of the textbook as well as online homework. After one year it would cost $20 for each year of continued online access. Clark was concerned that it may be required that students have perpetual access to an e-version of the textbook if they do not purchase a printed copy.
It was asked, for how long we are committed to Martin-Gay through the bookstore because we are using a customized version now, i.e., would we be allowed to change textbooks by Fall 2015? No one was sure.
Action:
i) Clark will find out from Brandi Asmus if students indeed need perpetual access to an e-version of any textbook.
ii) Kovacs will check to see if we are indeed committed to continuing with Martin-Gay through the bookstore and for how long.
iii) Chetra, Kovacs, and Stemmann will search for suitable alternatives to Martin-Gay. The goal is to present us with three options by the beginning of Fall 2014 so that we may decide on a possible change at the Fall 2014 DMDM; the change would be effective in Fall 2015.
E) Math 50 online, XYZTextbooks in Spring 2014 (Stemmann) [10 min]
Stemmann informed us that he would be piloting the elementary algebra textbook by XYZTextbooks in his online Math 50 class in Spring 2014 to determine how well the online course management system works. He will not be ordering the textbook materials through the bookstore, but instead will direct his students to purchase the materials directly from XYZTextbooks. He will also inform his students that they may not continue to use the textbook materials by XYZTextbooks for Math 52 since this is only a pilot. His online course material will be on the Canvas learning management system, but the homework will be on XYZTextbook's system.
F) Math 20, 21 and 9 book (Chetra) [30 min]
Chetra informed us that WCC will be changing editions of their Math 9 textbook next semester. [What textbook is WCC using? YC is using Beresford and Rockett.]
Chetra also informed us that the cost of the Math 21 textbook by McKeague is quite high ($185 if bundled with a student solution manual; $275 if the textbook by itself). Thus, he asked if we would like to change textbooks. The general response by those who have taught Math 21 recently is that McKeague is quite a good textbook, and perhaps one of the better ones available now. The only real drawback is the price.
Chetra also voiced a dissatisfaction with the Math 20 textbook by Stewart, and that he would like to change the textbook beginning Fall 2014. This dissatisfaction was not generally shared by the others who have taught Math 20, although Thoo did say that the textbook could be a little better (lacks a good introduction of limits and a better treatment of rational functions, particularly graphing, for example). (Thoo also admitted that he taught derivatives in Math 20.) Kovacs did voice a dissatisfaction with WebAssign for online homework, which she said is important for teaching Math 20 on TV. She much prefers MyMathLab to WebAssign, which is available for all Pearson titles.
Action:
i) Chetra will negotiate with Cengage for a lower price on McKeague's textbook for Math 21. He will let us know the results of his negotiations. If they are unsatisfactory, then Boyes, Chetra, and Wardlaw will search for an alternative textbook that would be selected by the end of Spring 2014; the change would be effective in Fall 2015.
ii) Chetra and Thoo will undertake a limited survey of a few alternatives to Stewart's textbook for Math 20, but there is no pressure to change from Stewart is no markedly better textbook is found. The results will be shared with everyone by the end of Spring 2014.
G) Rotation of conic sections, where to put if wanted (Thoo) [10 min]
Thoo had emailed the following ahead of the meeting.
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December 16, 2013 11:23:51 AM PST
The rotation of conic sections is covered in Math 2A, but not in Math 1C that replaces 2A. Thus, there does not appear to be any place where calculus students would learn about the rotation of conic sections (except perhaps in Math 3 if that is introduced as an application of eigenvectors of quadratic forms). I am going to suggest that we add the rotation of conic sections to Math 20. I think it would be easiest to do there. We could introduce the right-triangle definitions of the sine, cosine, and tangent functions specifically to cover the rotation, and not go any further in trigonometry that would be covered in Math 21.
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It was the consensus that rotation of conic sections could be covered in Math 1C or Math 3, for example, at the discretion of the instructor, but that there is no need to insert the topic in any particular course.
Lunch [1230--1315]
X1) Clark noted that there are a number of biological sciences student who take the Math 1 series because Math 9 does not satisfy the UCD MAT 16 series. He asked if we should develop a third calculus for biological sciences students that satisfy either the UCD MAT 16 OR MAT 17 calculus series. (At UCD, MAT 21 is the engineering and science calculus; MAT 16 is the "short calculus" for non-engineering and non-science majors; and MAT 17, which is somewhat new, is specially for biological sciences students.) If we do develop a third calculus sequence, would it be for UCD only or for all the UCs?
Action:
i) Clark will find out from the WCC counselors and Thoo from the YC counselors about how many of our Math 1 students are actually biological sciences students and, so, would be better served with a third calculus sequence.
ii) Clark will also check if other UCs besides UCD have a calculus for biological sciences.
X2) Chetra noted that there was one student who enrolled in Math 1B having achieved only a D grade in Math 1A. He was told by the registrar that, because D is a passing grade and the course outline does not specify that the prerequisite requires a C or better, the student was entitled to enroll in Math 1B. Upon further investigation, Chetra found that there is a statement in the course catalog or schedule of classes that specifies that a prerequisite may be met with a C or better grade only; however, what if this statement is removed from the catalog or schedule of classes? For this reason, Chetra floated the idea that we revise all of our course outlines to add "with a C grade or better" to every prerequisite.
After some discussion, it was decided that it would be better if individual departments did not do this independently, but rather if there were a uniform policy regarding prerequisites. Clark suggested that the statement in the catalog or schedule of classes must reflect a Board AP. If that is the case, then it would not matter whether or not the policy is stated in the catalog or schedule of classes.
Action:
Clark with check at DCAS if there is a Board AP or other District policy that specifies that a prerequisite may be met only with a grade of C or better.
X3) Thoo asked if it is time to deactivate Math 7. It was decided unanimously that it is time to deactivate Math 7.
Action:
Thoo will deactivate Math 7 in Spring 2014.
X4) Stemmann asked when the new number of hours for Stat 1 will take effect. Clark answered that the new hours for Stat 1 (3.5 hours lecture and 1.5 hours lab; 4 units for the students, but 4.5 units load for instructors) will take effect in Fall 2014. Clark also remarked that the two new topics in Stat 1 (ANOVA and chi square) may necessitate changing Stat 1 to 5 units in the near future. The stats instructors will know better after they have taught the revised Stat 1 in Fall 2014.
H) YC and WCC cSLO and pSLO update (Boyes; Clark) [20 min]
Boyes updated everyone on YC's SLO efforts the past semester and future plans. In the past semester, YC updated its pSLOs and developed new cSLOs for Math 52. Next semester, YC will develop new cSLOs for Math 50, followed by Math 111 and Math 110. Also, the cSLOs for all of the courses (not just the Big 4) are no longer multiple choice; instead, instructors are reporting whether students score 0, 1, 2, or 3 points, for example, on each assessment question.
Clark updated everyone on WCC's SLO efforts the past semester and future plans. WCC assesses cSLOs throughout the semester, and not only at the end like YC. Each assessment for all the sections of a particular course is graded by one instructor using a rubric for mechanics and a rubric for conceptual understanding. Based on the cSLO assessments, in-depth recommendations will be made to individual instructors in Spring 2014 on which parts of their course each should emphasize and which parts to scale back. This will commence the feedback portion of the SLO cycle.
Clark asked if sometime in the future the writing of the common final exams should be influenced by our cSLO results. There was general agreement that it should, but also that we are not yet near that time.
YC is behind WCC on the SLO assessment cycle.
I) Student Success Symposium report; pre-statistics track (Boyes; Noffsinger) [40 min]
Boyes, Kovacs, and Noffsinger briefed everyone on the Student Success Symposium that was held at YC on November 1, 2013. At the symposium, someone from CCSF talked about their prestatistics course, a one-semester ramp up from the prealgebra level to get non-STEM students ready for a transfer-level statistics course. Boyes mentioned that Yuba College administrators were eager for us to discuss a similar pathway. One problem with such a pathway is that the UC Board of Admission and Relations with Schools (BOARS) stipulates that any avenue to a transfer-level, if it does not include intermediate algebra, must be equivalent to three years of high school Common Core mathematics; moreover, the UC BOARS specifically calls out this particular pathway that was advocated in the symposium as not meeting that requirement.
Link to UC BOARS letter.
In addition to the prestats pathway, the symposium also featured Reading Apprenticeship (RA), a program to help student learn how to read their academic materials.
Regarding a shorter pathway to a transfer-level mathematics or statistics course, it was discussed whether we should offer an accelerated Math 50 and 52 sequence, say each 9 weeks back-to-back. It was also discussed if a prestats pathway like the one advocated at the symposium developed sufficient mathematical maturity. Clark asked if any of the stats instructors here think that any of their students are over-prepared for Stat 1 with a Math 52 prerequisite, since the prestats pathway advocated at the symposium holds as a premise that intermediate algebra is more than what is needed to be successful in a transfer-level statistics course. The consensus was, no, they are definitely not over-prepared.
It was decided that any of our non-tenured instructors should refer any questions from administrators regarding a prestats pathway to one of the tenured instructors.
J) Mathematics "boot camp" (Kovacs) [20 min]
Boyes, Noffsinger, and Papin, led by Kovacs, have been working on a "boot camp" to help students to raise their placement test score before they start on their mathematics courses. The thought is that some students may not have taken the placement test seriously or may have been away from doing classroom mathematics for a time and, so, may have scored lower on the placement test than they should have. These students would re-take the placement test after going through the "boot camp" with the hope that they would then be placed more appropriately at a higher level. The "boot camp" would be a two-week workshop, three hours a day, taught at three levels, viz., to students who scored into Math 111, 50, or 52. The students would rotate through one hour working on computers, one hour of lecture, and one hour of group work each day. The aim is for them to place at least one level higher after the "boot camp." The goal is to offer the "boot camp" for the first time in Summer 2014.
Kovacs is still working out the details (facilities, registration, &c.). Clark asked that Lanier be included in the discussions, for Lanier is working on something similar at WCC. Kovacs will be checking out "Math Jam," Canada College's version of a "boot camp," this winter. Clark suggested that we look at tapping Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) money for funding.
K) Revision of Math 111, 50, and 52, and deactivation of Math 110 (Thoo) [40 min]
Thoo had emailed the following ahead of the meeting.
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December 16, 2013 11:23:51 AM PST
There is some overlap in the courses that I believe, if we eliminate some or all of it, will allow us to shift topics around so that we may deactivate Math 110. For example, ratio and proportion is covered in Math 110, 111, and Math 52 (section 7.6). As another example, simplifying polynomials, distributing, and integer exponents are covered in both Math 111 and Math 50. Moreover, many of the topics in Math 110 are repeated in Math 111 using signed numbers; and should we really be teaching how to write word (English) names of numbers (spelling them out) and so on?
Eliminating Math 110 would also give us an opportunity to think about offering as an option an accelerated algebra sequence in which students would complete Math 111, 50, and 52 in two semesters instead of three. There is also Math 20 now, so, e.g., ellipses and hyperbolas could be eliminated from Math 52.
Here are my off-the-cuff thoughts scribbled on a "napkin" (actually, on the back of my Math 2A final exam).
[Link corrected]
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Clark said it would be ok to eliminate Math 110 eventually as long as there is a way for students to be prepared to enter Math 111. Kovacs, Boyes, Noffsinger, and Lanier indicated that there are computer software or online solutions available to do this. It was then decided that we should first restructure Math 111, 50, and 52, and then later decide if we would indeed deactivate Math 110. A discussion of how we may restructure Math 111, 50, and 52 ensued. The results are contained in the following photographs.
Link to work on the whiteboard.
We need to continue to work on this in the spring semester and not wait until the next DMDM to take it up again; however, no one volunteered to spearhead this effort.
L) SVCCM update and help needed (Chetra, Clark, Lanier) [20 min]
The 2014 SVCCM Conference will be hosted by WCC on March 15, 2014. Chetra, Clark, and Lanier are working on organizing the 2014 SVCCM Conference at WCC. They have already solicited potential speakers and are now looking to secure vendor support. They will ask for help from the rest of us as needed when it gets closer to the event.
M) Engr 6 (Davidson)* [10 min]
*N.B. Davidson will not be able to attend. This is what he has to submit regarding Engineering 6, a new engineering course that will be offered in Spring 2014. The 10 minutes on the agenda is for us to provide any comments or feedback that we may have.
Engr 6, Computational Problem Solving for Engineers
3 units (2 hours lecture, 3 hours lab)
Engr 6 is being offered for the first time at Yuba College in the Spring 2014 semester. The course will use computer software, MATLAB but also a bit of EXCEL, to teach students how to solve certain types of engineering problems more easily. The course is based on a similar course of the same number at UCD, and we will be using the same MATLAB textbook as they do in the course. The course articulates to the UC system now and should be listed in ASSIST.org. More detail from the course outline follows:
Course Description
This course focuses on numerical methods with computer application programs such as MATLAB and EXCEL to solve problems in engineering and science. Programming in MATLAB is a key skill developed in this course. Problems and applications from applied math, electrical circuits, biology, and other engineering and science fields are used.
Pre-requisite: Math 1A
Topical Outline:
1. Engineering problem solving and modeling
2. Spreadsheet applications and their mathematical functions
3. EXCEL and spreadsheet programming
4. Statistical analysis in EXCEL
5. Array mathematics
6. MATLAB files and data structures
7. MATLAB commands and programming
8. Graphical output in EXCEL and MATLAB
9. Methods for solving systems of linear equations
10. Numerical integration and differentiation
11. Solving ordinary differential equations (ODEs) using MATLAB
12. (Optional) Solving nonlinear ODEs
13. (Optional) Feedback loops
Note: MESA was able to work out a funding mechanism to install the program in Room M-603, although there are only 16 seats in there, so that the students will not have to purchase their own copies of Matlab.
We did not have time to discuss this item, but everyone had a chance to read what Davidson has sent (above). Any questions should be directed to Davidson.
Meeting adjourned at 1600.
Note: Davidson sent the following email message regarding some of the topics on the agenda. It was received after the meeting had started.
On Dec 17, 2013, at 11:50 AM, Roger Davidson wrote:
Greetings everyone from snowy Missouri!
I'm sorry I'll miss the big festivities tomorrow, but here are my thoughts on the items that John highlighted:
A) I think this is a significant problem. One resolution would be for the dept principals at each college to coordinate who is evaluating whom each semester. In this way, those in charge could be better informed and could make sure the evaluation process accomplishes what it is designed to do: address professional growth and gaps that may exist.
B) I would be OK with the department principal rotating, but I think each college should have its own, or that each college might decide to rotate or not. I also think that the rotation should be among those who really desire the opportunity. I would see it as a privilege, but I also think some would see it as a burden that they wouldn't welcome or feel prepared for. It is also a tremendous amount of work, and if I haven't said it enough, I really appreciate the good work you've done at YC to keep our dept working well after Lauren's retirement. I hope you are considering passing the torch because you want a break and not because you don't see how well you are doing, John.
G) I think rotation of conic sections fits best in Math 20 in our new structure. It was in precalc when I taught it years ago.
K) I think it is time to retire Math 110 and restructure, as needed, Math 111. I would be OK considering an accelerated path for 111-50-52. You may want to consider partnering with the tutoring centers to consider a on-line self-study path to get students prepared for 111. Some colleges do something like this and have times of day when students come into a proctored computer lab to take the gateway quizzes/exams that promote them to the next level of mastery in the math course. I think I reported on that at DMDM several years ago after attending the AMATYC national conference on course acceleration. It may also be that the new math bootcamp that Sarah is working on will provide a pathway to get to 111 and beyond and/or provide insights into how we help our most math-challenged students.
That's my 2 cents (ok maybe 3 cents) worth. I hope it's helpful in the meeting tomorrow.
Best regards and Happy Holidays,
--R