Home Contact
 Getting Started | General Info | Canvas | WebAssign

FAQs to Help you Get Started in Class

Considering Enrolling

What can I expect in a Keely math online class? How does it work?

The class is conducted fully-online asynchronously. Each week you will be expected to study the e-textbook, watch tutorial videos, learn from the Professor's online mini-lectures and examples, participate in assigned asynchronous discussions, work problems and take tests online. You can post any content questions you have anytime to the class Q&A discussion board. Prof. Keely is active in class and replies quickly to email or messages. She has been teaching for over 40 years, 25 of those solely online, has lots of resources to share, and is always willing to help :)

What's the difference between online and remote class? What does "asynchronous" mean?

An online class is conducted fully-online including tests. An online class is asynchronous meaning there are no real-time scheduled class meetings (ie. no Zoom). A remote class is conducted virtually and has a syncronous component (e.g. scheduled live class sessions in Zoom). A hybrid class has a mix of face-to-face meetings on-campus and online/remote meetings. The Clark Mathematics Dept. has a short video explaining these different formats at Remote? Online? Which format is right for me?.

Is taking an online class right for me?

Online classes don't work well for everyone. Some people learn best through face-to-face interaction or at least a remote virtual meeting with instructors and fellow students. In an online class all of the interaction takes place on discussion boards and much of the learning is independent. While online classes provide you the freedom to complete educational goals while working and taking care of family responsibilities, they do require that you discipline yourself to meet course requirements and participate regularly. Clark eLearning Dept.'s How to be a Successful eStudent may help you decide if online classes will work well for you.

Which math class is right for me?

Want to make sure that you are signing up for the right math class? Meet with an Academic Advisor or speak with any mathematics faculty member who can help you choose the right math class for you and your major. We are here to help make sure you are on the right path!

For what it's worth, I teach accelerated algebra, precalcus ,and calculus courses so my students are almost all STEM majors taking (or anticipating taking) College Algebra (Math 111), then Trigonometry (Math 103), then the Calculus sequence starting with Calculus I (Math& 151).

If I decide to take the class: Do I have to logon at a specific time? Will I ever need to come to campus? Will I need a textbook? How are the assignments submitted? How are the tests conducted? How much help is available if I need it?

  • We do not meet in real time, not even virtually. There are no Zoom meetings. You never need to come to campus. The entire class is conducted online asynchronously.
  • Access to a specified Digital Learning Platform (DLP) is required (e.g. WebAssign, MyMathLab, Knewton Alta).
  • The entire e-textbook is available online either inside your DLP or as free open educational resouces (OER), depending on course. Buying a physical textbook is unnecessary.
  • Rather than traditional weekly homework assignments, you are expected to work problems and master content objectives online in your DLP that count toward a large assignment due at the end of the term. Most DLP's have built-in instructional tools (e.g. MyMathLab's "Help Me Solve This" feature) that will help you work through the problems step-by-step if needed.
  • All quizzes, tests, and the final exam are conducted online in your DLP. They are timed and have a set window of opportunity when you can access them.
  • Assignments are also conducted in CANVAS, often as discussions on a discussion board. How many are required depends on the course.
  • Lots of help is available from the professor (who is very active in class and responds quickly to email), your classmates, and the tutoring centers (online and on campus).

Waitlist & late add info

For answers to questions such as: I'm on the class waitlist, or, I was on the waitlist before it ended. What now? How do I add the class late, after the term has started? see Syllabus - waitlist & late add information.

Getting Started

Where should I start? What is the mandatory first-day class orientation?

There are two orientation requirements. On DAY #1 login to Canvas, and enter your math class, and post your introduction to the "Introduce Yourself" discussion board in Canvas.

IMore detail is provided in your class in Canvas (in the "Orientation - Start Here" module), but also, in case you want the information prior to your Canvas class opening for the term, at Prof. Keely's Mathematics Online Web >> "Orientation" tab.

What can I do to get a head start on the class before it starts?

I suggest you enjoy your break and not start class till the first day of the term, but if you are really eager to get a bit of a head start before the term starts, see Prof. Keely's Mathematics Online Web >> "Orientation" tab.

What's the nitty-gritty of how the class works?

See Syllabus - Course Overview for an explanation of what to expect including a description of a typical day/week in the class.

How should I proceed through the course? Do you have any tips for success?

The class calendar is your guide to the course. It is built into your online classroom in the form of modules which list to all readings, assignments, assessments, and deadlines. A printable class calendar may also be available on my Math Online Web in the "Syllabi & Calendars" tab.

Best practice is to at least every other day ...

  1. In CANVAS, login to your class to check for any new announcements, messages, or discussion board posts.

  2. In CANVAS, follow the current week's module to know what material you should be studying. It will include links to:

    • Study: In your DLP, read a section in the e-text and watch the tutorial video (if there is one).
    • Read: At least skim the resource lesson notes provided by the professor.
    • Learn: Study the mini-lectures and examples provided by the professor in WAMAP.
    • Practice: In your DLP, work problems to master content objectives and make progress in the term-long assignment.
    • Assignment: Participate in the Canvas assignment for the unit, if applicable.
    • Assessment: Take the quiz(zes) over the current unit's material in your DLP.

  3. In CANVAS, ask any content questions on the Q&A discussion board!
How to Succeed in an Online Course provides some general tips for success. What Makes a Successful Online Student is a more thorough article worth reading.

What are the first-week attendance requirements?

See MathOL Syllabus - Attendance Policy particularly the "Day #1-2" section.

Clark Student Email Information

How do I access my Clark Student Email account? Must I use my Clark Student Email address? Can I forward it to another email address? Can I email the Prof. from a different address?

Clark Student Email accounts (your @students.clark.edu address) are the official email accounts used by the College. To check/access your student email, login to Gmail and enter your full Clark Student Email Address (example: j.doe@students.clark.edu) and your password.

Your email address will (most likely) have the form j.doe@students.clark.edu (first initial, period, last name). FAQs about Clark Student Email includes set-up directions including how to forward Your Clark Student Email to a personal email account.

Note: When setting-up your Clark Student Email if you include a signature keep it academically appropriate. For example, do not include anything that may be inflammatory such as religious quotes, gang-related symbols, nudity, etc. Also, use your real name. Professors getting a bunch of email from, eg, "School" is terribly confusing, thanks.

When emailing the professor, use your Clark Student Email address ONLY! Email me from your official @students.clark.edu account only, not from a home email or other off-campus address. This assists me identify you as a current student and locate your records, assures you a quicker response, and helps protect your privacy. I will not respond to a student email sent from, nor write to a student at, an off-campus email address. I will provide the same courtesy by only emailing you at your Clark address from my Clark address. For specific format rules please see How do I email the professor? (e.g. subject line to use, etc.).

Courseware, Software, & Course Materials

What is a CMS = Course Management System?

A Course Management System (CMS) is an online learning system that provides the management of eLearning courses. The CMS is where you "go to class" online. The class site in the CMS typically contains course documents, provides a method for communication, and houses the gradebook. Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle are popular CMSs. Although there are slight differences, a CMS is often called a LMS = Learning Management System.

What is a DLP = Digital Learning Platfom (a.k.a. "platform")?

For our purposes a Digital Learning Platform (DLP), often refered to as simply the "platform", is an online course delivery system provided by the textbook publisher. Typically the DLP is where you read the e-textbook online, watch tutorial videos, work practice problems, complete homework, and take tests. Knewton Alta (Wiley Publishing), MyMathLab (Pearson Publishing), and WebAssign (Cengage Publishing) are popular DLPs.

Which DLP will my class use?

The DLP is usually tied to the textbook used. A team of faculty determine which textbook/DLP is best for the course, so different courses may use different DLPs. For my classes Math 103 uses MyMathLab, Math 110/111 uses Knewton Alta, and the Calculus sequence uses WebAssign. Each platform provides a couple weeks free access and then requires purchasing for $40-$120 per term.

What computer/technology skills am I expected to have before entering this online class?

REQUIRED: Basic computer and word processing skills (select, cut, copy, and paste text; work with documents and folders). Basic text formatting skills (bold, underline, fonts, highlight text). Basic internet skills (using email, attaching a file, using a browser, allowing cookies, clearing a browser's cache). Installing/updating software or plug-ins.

RECOMMENDED: Reading and posting messages on a threaded discussion board. Using screenshot software to produce a .gif, .jpg, or .png file.

DESIRED: Using an equation editor software to write mathematical notation. Using an online grapher to produce the graph of a function. Experience with a CMS and MyMathLab (or similar software).

Clark eLearning Dept.'s Are you ready for online learning? has additional skills list.

What software and plug-ins do I need to access the course materials?


  • A current version of Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, or Edge browser.
  • The latest version of Adobe Reader (free) is required to print some of the course materials (.pdf format).


  • The ability to play videos which are usually included with the e-textbook.


  • An office program (e.g. MS Office, OpenOffice) might be useful in some courses, but are definitely not mandatory. The Clark College Bookstore offers student versions of MS Office at a reasonable cost.

My computer won't open the link to a PDF file.

To view a PDF file you need the current version of Adobe Reader (free download). Be sure your Adobe Reader is updated!

If your computer won't open the link by clicking the link to the file, try cut-and-pasting the URL into your browser. (You may have to right click and "copy link location" to access the URL.)

Another option is to save the file to your desktop and open directly from there. Mac's in particular sometimes have difficulty opening PDF documents within a browser and will require this method instead. Use this method too if you can open the PDF but experience oddities like missing math symbols. To save the PDF file to your desktop:

  • PC users: right click the link, choose "save link as", and download to your desktop.
  • MAC users: hold down the option key, click the link, and download to your desktop

Do I need to buy access to the DLP if I already have the hard copy textbook?

Yes, unless it came bundled with your textbook. You do need access to D.L.P. for your course as all the quizzes and exams are conducted there. However most publishers provide a couple weeks free access at the beginning of the term.

Do I need to buy the physical textbook in addition to the DLP?

No, you do not need a physical textbook. The entire textbook is available online as an e-text, so buying a physical textbook is optional and unnecessary unless you really want one. Many e-textbooks are printable too in case you need a chapter printed to use while traveling, for instance.