Math Learning Center - MLC
Open for Digital Tutoring to Support Math & Stat Courses
In order to provide drop-in tutoring while following the recommended guidelines regarding social distancing, the Math Learning Center will be conducted completely through digital delivery format. The Math Learning Center room will not operate from its usual physical space. The MLC uses the Microsoft Teams platform to provide online tutoring for the relevant mathematics and statistics courses. Our goal is to support students as they develop learning skills required for their respective courses.
Hours & Staffing:
The hours of the MLC for Fall 2020
- Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm
- The MLC is not open on school holidays. If classes don't meet and campus offices are closed, so is the MLC.
- We will intend to have one tutor designated to assist with 200-level math classes; one tutor designated to assist with statistics classes; and at least one tutor designated to assist with 100-level math classes.
The MLC is supported directly by student fees associated with the following math and statistics courses:
- M105, M121, M132, M133, M151, M161, M165, M166, M171, M172, M181, M182, M221, M234, M273, M274, M283, M284
- STAT216, STAT217, STAT332
Because that's where our tutors' expertise lies, these are the only courses that the MLC supports. In order to provide you with the best support possible, please only use the MLC if you are currently enrolled in one of the above math or statistics courses with the exception of relevant Gallatin College Math courses (details below).
Gallatin College Math Lab
For Fall 2020, the MLC will be combining with the Gallatin College Math Lab. Therefore, current instructors of Gallatin College Courses will also be available to assist in those courses. The hours these channels will be staffed will be a subset of the MLC hours. For more information regarding Gallatin College assistance, please contact your instructor. These courses and hours are:
- M063, M088, M090, M021/M121 Co-Req, and M005/M105 Co-Req
- Monday 10-6, Tuesday 10-3, Wednesday 10-6, Thursday 10-3. Friday 10-2
If you are enrolled in a Gallatin College Math course and are joining outside these hours, please navigate to your indvidual course Team to contact your instructor. Please don’t join other MLC channels during hours that GC channels are not supported– tutors are assigned by course, and we want to be sure you are being helped by a tutor familiar with your course’s content.
Access Microsoft Teams:
All students have a Microsoft Teams account through their Outlook. You just need to sign into the MLC team. Follow the instructions below to access the web-based version of Teams.
You can also download the Teams software from the Microsoft Website using the same user name and Net ID password format that is listed here. There is also a mobile app you could use!
Using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, navigate to www.montana.edu and click 'Students' at the top left corner.
Click the envelope icon.
Login with a user name formatted as follows and Net ID Password:
Make sure you are using this format as your user name!
Click the '9-dot grid' menu button at the top left corner of the page, left of 'Outlook'.
Click on 'Teams'.
Click 'Join or Create Team' at the top right corner of the page.
Enter the following access code: 8ctaedv
Getting Started with the Online MLC
Once you’ve joined the team, navigate to the channel for your course on the left-hand side of the screen. You have to click “unhide channels” to see your course listed. Scroll down to see more course channels. Once you are in your course, click on the "New Conversation" box and type in the "Start a new conversation" box. For example:
“Hi, I’m Elizabeth. I’m working on a M161 HW assignment in Web assign about intervals of increasing/decreasing and I need some help.”
Tutors are monitoring all the course channels and someone who is available will reply and likely ask you some follow-up questions. First, they will inquire whether you want to have a text conversation or if you would prefer a video call. We recognize people learn in different ways and have different preferences so you can expect the tutors to try to find out what works best for you.
Once you've got a conversation going, do your best to “reply” to the conversation you initially started instead of using the "Start new conversation” button. This helps the tutor track the appropriate notifications and keeps the chat threads organized! It also allows us to help more than one person at a time. If you want to chat, you can post a screenshot of your online HW in the reply line with copy and paste. Or, you can attach a PDF or other file type using the paper clip icon under the reply line.
Please do not direct video call a Tutor. If you want to have a video call, request that when you ask your question. Please allow the Tutor to set up the video call for you. They are trained in how to best manage the workflow in Teams and it creates issues if you directly call Tutors.
If you choose to be in a video call with a tutor, they will write the topic you will be working on as the subject of the call. This allows other students, who might be working on the same thing, to join the video call just as they might sit at the same table as you in the physical MLC. This enables us to help similar students with similar topics at one time. It also promotes students to engage with one another on the material. If you see an ongoing video call in the course, please join in! You should see a “Join” button within the course channel if an active video call is occurring and you are welcome to add yourself in. You can expect that sometimes, tutors will need to engage with other students so they might say something like “You’re doing great! Keep working on the next one as I need to help someone else now and I’ll check back!”
If you are experience bandwidth issues, consider turning your video stream off if necessary. Sometimes, if you have connectivity issues, this can help.
Notifying a Person
You can use the @ symbol to notify someone. So, if you were being helped by someone specific and they left you for a minute to work on something while they engaged with someone else, you can @person to notify an individual to send a conversation directly to them. For example, you could write in your reply
@Mery,Elizabeth I finished that question, can you check back on me?
A channel’s name turns bold with new activity. Customize notifications by clicking on your icon (upper right) -> Settings -> Notifications on the left hand menu.
Please come prepared to invest your time and energy in fostering new and improved study skills relevant for your success. You can expect a tutor to ask you what you have already attempted. They might inquire where the material is in your notes. They might ask what your thoughts are on an initial direction for the problem. If you don’t have any initial thoughts about a problem, that is totally okay! Honestly, a lot of us don't know how to start a math or statistics problem immediately. We must all read the problem a couple of times and think about what we've learned and how to address the problem in front of us. It's okay to not know exactly where to start. Your job is to think of some ideas about what could be a place to start. It's okay if ultimately, we need to go in a different direction. The tutor's job is to understand where you are so they can help guide you through the learning process by developing your critical thinking skills.
Learning can be a frustrating process. Our tutors are trained in helping you develop responsibility for your own learning so you can approach many math and statistics problems in the future--not just the one immediately in front of you. The purpose of the Math Learning Center is to engage you in learning how to learn. There is a lot more to this process than providing single answers. For this reason, the tutors are will not “just check your answers”. If you want your assignment checked, it’d be best to talk to your instructor about that during office hours.
Please also remember that even though you will be in a virtual “MLC Room,” all behavior and conduct should align with MSU's student code of conduct. Please respect your own and others' confidentiality and do not post information about grades, health status or any other personal information in the chat threads.
Optimizing Your Online Learning Experience
Tips from Our Own Tutors
Below is a categorized list of tips to make your online learning experience as fruitful as possible. These come from our very own tutors, who are students themselves and have invested a lot of time in learning what works for them when it comes to studying in general as well as online learning.
- Make a nice study space where you can concentrate. Set up at your desk or table, with your laptop, pencils/pens, and whatever else you need. Have everything right there so you don't need to keep getting up to get stuff.
- I find myself more concentrated when I go into my office to study, since I’ve designated this space as a work space, rather than working on the couch. If I need to take a break, I physically leave the office. I highly recommend designating a part of your living space to be 'in-class' and focus on school work.
- Log on to D2L during the hours you would have class, and do your homework and read/watch lectures during that time. It helps keep a semblance of a routine in your life.
- Writing out a daily schedule that allots extra time to “be in class” apart from the actual class WebEx/Zoom meeting (if holding live classes).
- I have to eliminate all possible distractions or I'll get nothing done. This is hard when I have to have my computer right in front of me but I've found that turning my phone off and opening a new browser window that I dedicate to only school-related tabs helps me focus.
- I force myself to take notes during class, especially if the class is a recorded video rather than real-time. This helps me to identify things that I don't fully understand (even if I thought I did while watching) and keeps me actively engaged with what I'm learning. Plus, it's much easier to flip through a notebook to find useful information rather than have to rewind a video and try to find the right place.
- If lectures are recorded I've been taking advantage of the pause and rewind buttons quite a lot. It's a bit frustrating since it means a 15 minute video will sometimes take over half an hour to get through, but I've definitely been learning the material better.
- This shift to online learning has been interesting for me because now for the first time, I am in charge of my own schedule. In addition to that, I have so many "new" things on my radar for each class that it can be overwhelming. This definitely adds to the stress because I feel like I have so much to do but since I'm creating my own schedule for the first time, I don't know when to do what assignment or quiz. My solution to this has been writing "to-do" lists, which I never used to do. I write down what I want to get done each day for the entire week. Even if I don't complete all my things on my to do list where I have them planned, I at least have them on my radar so I don't forget to do them.
- I have found that consistency is super important. Working on a class at a specific time makes you more disciplined and allows you to succeed more.
- Finding a routine is important, but if something isn't working well, then I encourage students to change it up and find what works best for them personally.
- The first 15 minutes or so are the hardest to make yourself concentrate - so make those as pleasant as possible. Make yourself a cup of tea or hot chocolate, or get a bowl of ice cream, or whatever treat to make it a little better.
- Don't put on Netflix and think "I'll just watch it in the background" ...this doesn't work (I know from experience).
- Try to eat and sleep at regular times. Keeping some sort of schedule helps me stay in "school mode".
- It's okay for you to not be as productive as normal. Do your best, but don't beat yourself up while you are trying to adjust to all the changes. Remember to take breaks to do things that are calming and relaxing for you.
- I also think it's important to stress to our students that it's totally okay to feel weird or stressed during this time (or any time for that matter), and that encouraging them to reach out if they need help on an assignment is totally okay and awesome actually.
- It’s important to make sure you are still taking care of yourself even if you aren't seeing people day-to-day (i.e. regular meals, showering, etc.).
- It’s ok to be "social" even while social-distancing! Calling or video chatting may make a huge difference to how you’re feeling. I know that when I am isolated for a long period of time, I begin to really dissociate and things begin to not feel real like real life, but being able to talk to someone on the phone or (preferably) video chat with someone can really help me.
- Keep in contact with your professors. Mine have been very accommodating when I've asked for extra help or extensions - but they only know you need it if you ask.
- Reaching out to fellow classmates to work on classwork together is really important. We’ve, in a sense, lost that by not being able to ask our peers questions in and out of class on campus. Remembering that we’re all in this together is the most important thing to me, in these isolated times.
For more tips on online learning visit: http://ato.montana.edu/learnanywhere/students/tips.html
Working in the MLC
- We are not currently accepting applications for undergraduate tutors.
- To express interest in a future position, please email Elizabeth Mery (information below).