Chat times for 2012/2013
Dr. Christe Ann McMenomy
Scholars Online courses are a cooperative effort between the teachers, the students, and their parents. Like the proverbial three-legged stool, if one leg is broken or missing, the stool will topple over. You are a necessary and important part of this course, and your student will need your guidance to develop the study skills and self-discipline needed to survive the class.
Layout: The Site Map for the course describes the web-based content of the course. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all the parts of the course, especially if you have a student who is new to this kind of instruction. Links to most parts of the course appear in the Header table (there is one at the top of this page).
To get to the assignment for a given day, go to your own Moodle home page and check the Chemistry Course page for the session that meets on that date. If I've posted the materials, the links for chat and your homework will be visible. The chat link becomes a log link once chat is closed. Please note that not all materials will be posted prior to the start of the course in September, since I am currently revising many of them for our new environment. Links for the next week (except logs, of course!) will generally be active at least one week in advance.
We use a college textbook, and I will try to discuss the material in as much depth as possible. Quizzes and examinations are thorough, to prepare students for college-level science courses and the SAT II Chemistry examinations. However, since this is still a high school course, I do not require college-level performance to pass the course. Students who actively participate in class, complete homework regularly, maintain a 50% average on the quizzes, and achieve at least 50% on each of the two semester exams will pass the course.
AP expectations: The AP examination tests whether a student has achieved collegel-level competency in the subject. I will expect college-level performance in order to make recommendations that a student has passed at an AP level. To get such comments, students will need to complete extra assignments, average at least 75% on all quizzes and examinations, and to obtain lab credit. This means that you will need to help the student organize his time to finish all assignments and complete at least 2/3 of the labs.
The Procedures page has some specific guidelines for how students might schedule completing all the tasks for each week's work. You should go over these suggestions and modify them to suit your student's learning style and outside commitments. Most chemistry students are at least juniors, and have achieved considerable self-discipline, but they still need help setting their goals and disciplining themselves to get work done in a timely fashion. You will have to decide how much help your student needs, but at the very least, you should meet with him once a week to go over the checklist and make sure that he is completing preparation reading and homework on time.
The Moodle gives the text assignments (which may assume CD ROM exercises), homework problems, web lectures, and lab topics for each chat session. Weblectures may refer students to other websites with interactive demonstrations. These take time but allow the student to experience and experiment with different concepts in a way no text medium can provide. Encourage the student to spend the extra time at these exercises, especially during the beginning of the course.
Students often run into problems with individual homework problems, and since I do not collect homework for these (copying them into email is more an exercise in typing than fruitful study of chemistry), they may lack motivation to actually do the work involved. However, you should encourage your student to complete as many of the exercises as possible, especially during the early units, which establish basic applications of mathematics to physical situations. Students who are attempting AP credit should write out all solutions and save these in a notebook as demonstration of completed work, if this becomes an issue.
All assigned exercises either have answers listed in the back of the book or will have the answers posted on the conference center, so the student will know when he has succeeded. Check periodically to make sure that the work is being done in time for class and verify that the "post" problem is posted prior to the start of each class session. After class, these postings (and any annotations mycroft makes, in case the student gets the problem wrong) will provide completely-worked answers for all assigned problems, so you can go over the work with your student.
My experience has been that students must regularly complete *all* the homework assigned, not just "their own problem", in order to master the material and perform well on standardized tests..
E-mail: Be aware that specialized functionality may not translate to other email programs. In particular, certain kinds of formating in Microsoft Outlook and Exchange will not appear except on other Word-equipped platforms. To avoid problems:
Web readings: I often post optional website readings; I may request students to use the textbook "companion site" for our text for some activitie. I check all sites to determine their suitability for Scholars Online students prior to posting my web pages, but I do not follow all the links from every outside site, nor can I guarantee that such a site will remain unchanged between the time I select it and the time that you view it. If you have questions about the suitability of these sites, I encourage you to check them before letting your student view them, and to let me know if you have concerns about specific sites.
Class sessions: Our class sessions are discussion and solution sessions. I try to present all lecture material ahead of time on my web pages, so that we can use the chat periods for student input and homework review. As a result, chats can seem somewhat chaotic, and "start and stop" as students try to type in their questions, answers, and comments. To make chats as useful as possible, follow these guidelines:
In order for you to keep track of whether your student is completing the work, you might want to set up your own checklist. Each chat session requires the student to complete items 1-3 and possibly #4. Each chapter requires the student to complete the quiz. Only students taking the lab credit option are required to complet the lab.
You should refer to this guide, to the FAQs page, and to the Procedures page frequently. These pages contain material that was developed in answer to questions other parents have asked me, so many of your questions may be answered already in one of these pages.
The Moodle course page will have the homework solutions that students have posted; if a student is unable to complete a problem, mycroft will post an answer. You can use this site to help your student review solutions to homework problems if he or she is having trouble completing them.
You should also feel free to e-mail me with specific questions at any time, and especially with corrections to the web materials (misspellings, missing links, possible quiz key or homework key errors).
I will also schedule at least one evening session per month when I will be "in my office", that is, online in my chat classroom, and available to parents for questions and help. Please watch your mail for announcements of these times.
© 2012,2013 This course is offered through Scholars Online, a non-profit organization supporting classical Christian education through Internet-based courses. Permission to copy course content (lessons and labs) for personal study is granted to students currently or formerly enrolled in the course through Scholars Online. Reproduction for any other purpose, without the express written consent of the author, is prohibited.