Does this class have any face-to-face meetings?

No. All the work, including homework, discussion, lectures and testing is done online. You never have to come to BMCC in person or meet at a particular time. However, the work you complete online still has regular due dates, so you must be sure to pay attention to when work is due and to submit it by the deadline, just like in a regular face-to-face class.

How does the workload for the course compare to a regular class?

The work for this course should take the same amount of time as the work you would do in a regular face-to-face class. However, many students fail to take into account that the course, when taken face-to-face has 6 class hours that you would usually spend at BMCC; any homework and studying would be in addition to this, about another 3 hours worth of work at home. Since this is an online class with no face-to-face meetings, you should still plan on spending about 12 hours each week on work for this class; because we don't have 6 hours of lectures, you should expect to spend about 6 hours each week reading the book and the lectures, doing discussion questions and lecture questions, and taking any tests or quizzes, etc. You should then spend about 8 additional hours each week on average on homework and studying. Some students find it difficult to schedule this much time each week when they don't have a scheduled class meeting time. To succeed in this class, you should be sure that you are the kind of student who can motivate yourself to do 12 hours of work each week even when you don't have scheduled class meetings.

Do you have any special tips about what I should do to succeed in this course?

The biggest reason students fail this class is simply that they get behind in the work. Turn all your work in on time. I have never had a student who submitted all the course work on time and still failed the course. I recommend that you set aside specific times each week that add up to about 6 hours total during which you plan to work on this course.

Students who participate fully in the discussion board - reading all the other students' posts and responding repeatedly to my comments tend to do well in the course. The kind of problems they work out on the discussion board really help them on the tests.

If you have trouble understanding something in the lectures or the homework, discuss this problem on the discussion board or email me with a specific question about the problem you are having trouble with. For the best and fastest possible response, include the problem or the portion of the lecture itself in the email and explain exactly what you have tried and what has confused you about the problem or the example in the lecture. Most students who struggle with the material don't ask questions about the math.

What is my grade?

You can find your grades for all your assignments by hitting "Check grades." You can see your grade for each individual assignment here. If you have the symbol " " for a grade, this means you have not completed the assignment. If you have the symbol , this means that you have begun the assignment, but you have not yet submitted it. Once you are through with an assignment that must be completed online (lecture questions, for example) be sure to hit "Submit" instead of "Save." Then the lock symbol will disappear. If you have the symbol , this means that the assignment has been submitted but not yet graded; for any assignments that you turn in on time, you should get a grade within about a week from the due date. If you submit assignments late, it may take a little longer to see a grade for them.

To find out your total average for the course, look at the "Weighted total." This is your total average for the course, but it will not take into account any missing assignments until the end of the course, so it will only be an accurate grade if you have turned in ALL the work that is due.

At BMCC, the grading scale is as follows:

letter grade corresponding average
A 93 or above
A- 90-92
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-80
C 73-76
C- 70-72
D+ 67-69
D 63-66
D- 60-62
F 59 or below

I can't get the symbols to show up in my discussion board post or my homework. How do I write the symbols?

  1. If you are trying to post to the discussion board or group pages and you can't get the equation editor in Blackboard to work:

    Be sure you are clicking on the right thing.  You want to click on the button that looks like this:

    This equation editor may take a few moments to load, so give it a minute.  If you are still having trouble with it, call IT (see number below); this equation editor is run by Java, and if your internet browser isn't set up to run Java, they will need to walk you through how to load the software you need. 

    Also, note that equations written this way cannot be cut and pasted into other programs, such as Microsoft Word

  2. You can type up homework using the equation editor in Microsoft Word. For instructions on how to do this, click here for Word 2007 and here for Word 2003.

Note: For the ounce and dram symbols in the apothecary system (see Lecture 2), you will need to copy and paste the following pictures from this page into the discussion board (or into Microsoft Word, if you are using it):



I can't read the symbols in the test/quiz/lecture questions. How do I get the symbols to show up?

Click here to see instructions on how to read the equations in this class.

I keep seeing an empty box in the lecture questions/test/quizzes. What does the empty box mean?

That empty box is supposed to contain an equation or a symbol. If you see an empty box instead, this means that you do not have your computer properly set up to view equations.

Click here to see what you need to do in order to be able to read the equations in this class.

The bottom halves of fractions aren't showing up. How do I fix this?

This may happen sometimes if you are using the Firefox browser; I don't know why this bug exists and have been working to try and see if there is a way to get Firefox to stop doing that, but in the meantime, don't panic - here are a few things you can do:

  1. Hit the "Refresh" button on the Firefox browser window; when the page reloads, you should be able to see all the fractions properly, although scrolling down and then back up again may cause the problem to occur again.

  2. Use another browser and see if it displays the fractions properly - Internet Explorer 6.0, for example, should display the fractions normally. This should only be a problem with the lectures - for the tests, you should always use the Firefox browser.

I can't get in to take the test. What do I do now?

If the test does not show up, you have probably gone in to take the test early. The test will generally not show up on the course webpage until a week before it is due.

If you try to get into the test and it asks for a password, you have probably gone in to take the test too late; after the due date has passed, you can only take the test with permission from me. You should always check the Assignments page to see when each test is due.

If you try to take the test and it gives you an error message or tells you that you have already taken the test, a couple of things are possible:

  1. You have already taken the test. You can only take the test once, and once you have submitted it, you cannot go back into the test.

  2. You began taking the test but had computer trouble and the test froze or you got bumped out of the test by the computer. If this happens, you won't be able to get back in again. You should email me to ask me to reset the test as soon as possible so that you will still have time to get into the test again before the deadline. After I have reset the test, before you go back in to take it, restart your computer and don't open any programs other than Firefox. While taking the test, don't hit any of the buttons on the browser (back, forward, refresh, etc.) and don't open any other programs until you have finished.

  3. Occasionally there may be some other problem with Blackboard or the server. In this case, email me and describe exactly the problem you are having and then contact IT.

Do I need to save each question on the quizzes? Or can I just hit "Next?"

When completing lecture questions or test reviews where you have the opportunity to do one question at a time and to come back to your work at a later time, you may want to save individual questions. However, on a timed test or quiz, you may not want to hit "Save" each time you do a question, because it will take a bit longer. Just hitting "Next" will be fine, and then be sure once you finish the test or quiz to submit the entire assignment at the end.

I wrote responses to the discussion question this week, but I still got a low grade. Why is my discussion board grade so low?

You may have gotten a low grade because you did not follow instructions, or did not answer all of the questions. In order to get full credit on the discussion board, you have to be sure that you answer all the questions and follow any instructions given in the discussion board question.

You may have gotten a low grade because some of your responses did not say anything substantial about the math. You must respond to at least two other student posts, and these posts must say something about the math. Posts that don't say anything substantial about the math don't get any credit. To see some examples of good and bad posts, look at the sample discussion board from the first week of class again by clicking here.

You may have gotten a low grade because you never replied to questions or comments that the other students or I made to your posts. To get full credit on the discussion board, you must reply to any comments I or another student make to your post. This means that you cannot just login once each week and then never go back to the discussion board again! You must go back right before the deadline and respond to any comments that have been made to your posts. In particular, if I have given you some instructions or advice on how to improve your response, you should repost and try to respond to the things I have pointed out or asked you.

You may have gotten a low grade because you missed a deadline. Remember that the first post to the discussion board is due about 3 business days before the deadline for the rest of the assignments for the week. The deadline for the first discussion board post will always be posted on the Assignments page in the last column. The rest of your posts must be posted before the final deadline for the week, which is also listed on the Assignments page in the Due Date column. If you are responding to one of my comments, then you may still reply after the due date (but all your inital required posts must have been submitted before the due date).

You may have gotten a low grade because you did not read all the other students' posts in the discussion board. You must read all other student posts before the final deadline. If you find that another student's post makes you reconsider your answer, then you should go back and correct your post, even if that student has not commented specifically on your work. If I find that you have not been reading other student posts, you will lose points. If your answer has obvious errors that have been addressed by other student posts and you never repost to correct these, then it will be clear to me that you have not read the others students' posts.

To review the requirements for the discussion board, click here.

I've emailed you and I never heard back from you. Why haven't you responded?

I will always respond to emails within about one business day; on weekends and school holidays I may also respond quickly, but my response is only guaranteed on weekdays when classes are in session. To see which days are holidays at BMCC, click here.

If it has already been more than one business day and you have not heard from me, there are several possible things that may have happened.

  1. I may have responded to you, but my email may have been filtered into your spam filter. Check your spam email to see if there is a message from me, and if you find my message there, change your email settings to allow messages from (This should not be a problem if you are only using your BMCC email.)

  2. Your message may have been filtered out as spam from my inbox. To prevent this happening, be sure to put something in the subject line that clearly states the purpose of your email. If you email me from a BMCC address, this should not be a problem.

  3. There may be a problem with your return address; in this case if I email you back, the message will get bounced back to me. Check to be sure that the "Reply to:" address given in your email settings is a working address. You might try sending a test message to a friend or to your own BMCC email account and then try replying to your own message. If you get an error message, you should check your "Reply to" settings. If you are emailing from a BMCC email address, this should not be a problem.

I'm not getting the class emails. How do I access the class email list?

First you should be sure that you have joined the class email list, as instructed at the beginning of classes. Go here for instructions on how to join the class email list.

After joining the class email list, you can always look at all the messages that have been sent via the class email list for the whole semester by going to the group webpage at You can also change your membership settings here, if you want to change the email to which the group emails are sent, or want to adjust the way in which you receive class emails.