California Mathematics Council Community Colleges    
Fall Conference

The fall 2013 Conference was a huge success!  See below for information about what the conference was like.  Stay tuned to the the 42nd annual conference in Monterey on December 5 and 6.

Maps of the Hyatt and the Monterey Area

41st Annual Fall Conference will Take Place on December 13-14 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa (Note the new hotel in Monterey)

PowerPoints and other Handouts from the Conference:

  • Friday Night's Ignite Talk:  Click here
  • Riki Kuchek:  Top 10 Technology Resources for the Math Classroom:  Click here
  • Michael Hoffman:  Building Community and Improving Math Placement at Canada College:  Click here
  • Karl Ting:  The Tai Chi of Basic Mathematics:  PowerPoint :  Click here  Handout:  Click here
  • Martin Flashman:  Using Mapping Diagrams to Understand Functions:  Click here
  • Michael Sullivan:  Simulation and Resampling Methods in Introductory Statistics:  Click here
  • Dave Sobecki:  Removing the Developmental Math Roadblock:  Click here
  • John Martin:  Blaise Pascal and His Magic Hexagram:  Click here
  • Pat McKeague:  What's Up with MOOC's?:  Click here
  • Eric Schulz:  Sticky Precalculus: Download first, then Click here
  • Joe Vasta:  Math to Math Resuscitation; Ideas to Bring Your Class Back to Life:  Handout 1 Handout 2
  • Teresa Sutcliff:  Flip the Switch:  Presentation:  Click Here
                                                              Intro Video:
  • Charles Barnett:  Neither Div Nor Curl Nor Both Constitute the Derivative:  Handout, vugraphs
  • Jeffery Saikali:  Improving Learning by Understanding the Psychology of Human Memory:  Click here
  • David Ellenbogen:  45 Boredom Busters:  Click here
  • Marie Bruley:  Community College Math Faculty Engagement in Assessment:  Click here
  • Michael Ergubian:  What Are We Doing Now?  Click here

Register for the Conference:

Download the Monterey 2013 Conference App:

  1. On your iPad or smartphone download the "Guidebook" app.
  2. Once you have your "Guidebook", search for "CMC3 2013".
  3. Have fun building your schedule!


Hotel Reservations and Information: 

  • Click here to make your hotel reservations or call the Hyatt Regency at 1-888-421-1442. 
  • Click here for driving directions to the Hyatt Regency.  
  • Click here for general information about the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa or go directly to the Hyatt website.

Call For Student Posters:  CMC3 welcomes community college mathematics students to participate in the student poster session for our conference.  For more information about the poster session click here and to access the poster session proposal form, click here.

Call For Proposals:  The speakers for this fall's conference have all been confirmed, but if you are interested in being a speaker for 2014, please fill out the Monterey 2014 call for proposals form by clicking here and indicating whether you want to be a back up speaker or are interested in speaking in 2013.    Also, any speakers who are interested in giving a talk in the 2014 Recreational Math Conference in Tahoe can fill out the Tahoe 2014 call for proposals form by clicking here.

Vendors:  Any vendor interested in having a booth or an ad for the conference please follow this link for information.

Special Friday Afternoon Workshop:  1:30 to 5:00 pm
 Learning to Learn Algebra by Pacific Crest in Windjammer I and II
        Presenter:  Wade Ellis
This workshop is based on the notion that learning is a process that can be improved and will provide methods for improving the learning skills that are involved in learning mathematics, especially developmental mathematics.

Click Here for the workshop brochure
An rsvp is required.  Please email Wade Ellis at or call at (408)-623-3495.

Friday Afternoon Workshop:  3:00 to 5:00 PM at the Big Sur Room 1-3

After a long week of teaching, come by the Big Sur room on Friday and grab some much needed food and drink while enjoying a presentation on the XYZComplete Courses   

Door Prizes!

Please let us know if we will see you Friday!

Tentative Schedule

Saturday Keynote Speaker:  
Brian Conrey, The American Institute of Mathematics
Primes and Zeros:  A Million-Dollar Mystery

 * General Interest *           Room:  Spyglass 1

9 am          Michael Eurgubian  "What are we doing, part two?"
    In 2011, through visitations and communication, I engaged in a purely objective study of mathematics departments across the California Community College system, encompassing the mathematics teaching environments of each school, student and instructor demographics, delivery systems, curriculum, equivalencies, campus layout, book selection, academic standards, student preparation and success, on-line classes and homework, student services related to mathematics, and matriculation. This talk is an update, having now included most of the colleges I did not visitand especially noting that a great deal has changed in less than two years. 

10:30 am    John Martin  "Blaise Pascal and His Mystic Hexagram"
    Inventor, mathematician, physicist and theological writer Blaise Pascal has been called by many, “the greatest might-have-been in the history of mathematics.”  In this talk, we will examine his life and times and consider one of his most impressive discoveries.
    I will talk about many of the important events in Pascal’s life including his mathematical and scientific discoveries.  This will include a discussion of his publications on projective geometry, the cycloid and the barometer.  I will also mention some of his religious writings.  My main focus however, will be on a discovery he made when he was sixteen: If an arbitrary six points are chosen on a conic section and joined by line segments in any order to form a hexagon, then the three pairs of opposite sides of the hexagon meet in three points which lie on a straight line.  This theorem will be presented with the aid of the interactive geometry program GeoGebra.

2:30 pm     David Ellenbogen  "45 Boredom Busters"
    The average course meets 45 times.  Can each class contain something special?  This session provides material for courses ranging from basic math through calculus.  Attention grabbers include anecdotes, activities, jokes, puzzles, and cartoons guaranteed to enrich the classroom experience.   Attendees will leave with material for immediate classroom use. 

4 pm          Dave Sobecki  "Removing the Dev. Math Roadblock"
    Answer this question honestly:  is your beginning algebra course really pre-pre-pre calculus?  The traditional developmental math curriculum was designed to prepare students for precalc/college algebra, but many non-STEM students will never take those classes.  Let\'s talk about developing an alternate pathway for those students.  It shouldn't be, of course, but often it's designed and taught that way.  Schools across the country are seeing the light and designing a new pathways course for non-STEM students.  If designed and implemented correctly, it’s a win-win-win:  students benefit by having the most significant roadblock to their degree aspirations (the traditional developmental math sequence) removed.  Better still, the new pathway provides a much richer experience in terms of contextual learning and critical thinking, one that benefits them in the college-bearing math courses they will end up in, as well as in any other course that requires thinking (i.e. ALL OF THEM.)  
    For instructors, it’s a win for two reasons:  the new course is a whole lot more fun to teach, and the traditional dev math courses become a much more robust experience for students that will continue on a STEM path when the students that have zero interest in math and science fields are steered to a different path.  Finally, it’s a HUGE win for administration:  higher completion rates, and more students getting to credit-bearing math courses in a single semester.  In my talk, I’ll provide a view of Pathways from two perspectives:  building a course from the ground up, and developing materials to go along with that course (since there are currently none available!)  Of course, there will be plenty of time for questions and interaction, and some good old-fashioned fun as well.


* Developmental Education *          Room:  Spyglass II

9:00 am          Karl Ting   "The Tai Chi of Basic Mathematics"

Basic skills students fall into two categories:  1)  students who are anxious and thus fear their lack of understanding of math or 2)  students who think they should not be in a basic skills class and rush through all their work.  In either case, it leads to their lack of success.  The talk will incorporate techniques of the Singapore mathematics to model the four basic operations of arithmetic, leading to the development of problems solving skills, and eventually algebraic abstraction of the modeling of application problems.

10:30 am    Stefan Baratto   "Content in Context:  Teaching Students with Real-World

    Motivating students who ask, “When will I ever use this?” can be a challenge.  Move beyond using applications to motivate topics; use them to teach content. We explore what to look for in applications, how to find them, and how to use them to teach new topics, maintaining student interest and increasing learning and knowledge retention.  Explore problem-solving strategies so students can achieve critical thinking. Each application is chosen for its relevance to students’ lives and the world around them.  Participants will take applications back to their own classrooms to answer, “Here, this is where you will use this!”

2:30 pm      Joe Vasta   "Math to Math Resuscitation:  Ideas to Bring Your Class Back to Life"
    What do irrational numbers have to do with the Fibonacci sequence?  What do logarithms have to do with a counting problem?  What do exponents have to do with ripping paper?  What does the Chain Rule have to do with breaking into a house?  How can probability show you that being polite helps you win the game?  How can bugs be effective calculus teachers?  How can you use topology to turn your shirt inside out while handcuffed?  How can a person give an hour talk over so many topics and more?


4 pm          Teresa Sutcliffe   "Flip The Switch!"
    Many students do not know how to study math that is why they fail miserably.  In the flip-the-switch approach the students “attend class at home and do homework in class.”  With this approach, several light switches turn on for both instructor and students resulting in a more successful math class.
    Traditionally, math teachers lecture, students take down notes, maybe do a 15-minute group work or some activity at the end of the class, go home and do homework (if they do).  With this model we see lots of students drop out of or fail the class.  Math instructors talk among themselves and wonder how students study and oftentimes conclude that students don't know how to study for math. Students say: I understand it in class when you do it and I can even do the group work but I don't know why I don't do well on the test.  I'm sure we've all heard this statement from our students at some point.  We ask them if they do homework and they say yes.  We ask them if they check their answers and they say sometimes.
    I have been flipping the classroom for 4 semesters now and each semester I have changed or refined the way I use the method.  The basic model is as follows:  The only homework I give the students is to come prepared to do the work in class.  They do this either by reading the textbook or watching videos.  When they come to class I give a very short lecture (10 – 15 minutes) about the topic.  The rest of the class time is devoted to doing the exercises in the workbook with me walking around and helping out if there are questions and looking over their shoulders to check if they are doing the problems correctly.     
    Students get to write a lot of Math and I get to catch and point out errors early.  Students learn that the way to get math is by writing it correctly and by doing lots of problems.  Students also get to learn test-taking strategies while doing the exercises.  


* Panels/Issues *               Room:  Big Sur II & III

9 am          Diana Herrington   "Impact of Common Core and the Community College"
    The Common Core standards at the high school will bring a different student to the college classroom. This presentation will be an overview of what the CCSS is and the implications for Community College Math classrooms.  Examples will be given for class work, projects and the different assessments that students will be working with.
    The Common Core standards and their implementation impacts how students will learn mathematics and how they will be assessed.  Examples of projects/tasks will be given and analyzed by participants so an understanding of what incoming students will have experienced will be summarized. We will also look at released assessment questions, and if possible actually take a released series of questions to understand the difference.  This session is all about having a non passive experience with the Common Core State Standards.

10:30 am    Pat McKeague   "What's up with MOOCs?"
    Description:  Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a recent addition to the options available in higher education.  Where did they come from, what is it like to teach one, do we need to be concerned about them?  These topics, and more, from someone who has created and taught his own MOOCs.

2:30 pm           Marie Bruley   "Community College Math Faculty Engagement in
                                               Student Learning Outcomes Assessment"

    Little is known about California community college math faculty engagement in SLO assessment.  In this presentation the results of a mixed methods exploratory study designed to examine the nature of community college math faculty engagement in the student learning outcomes assessment cycle will be discussed.  
    This presentation will explore the results of a mixed methods exploratory study designed to examine the nature of math faculty engagement in the student learning outcomes assessment cycle.  The focus of the study is on the types of changes that math faculty are implementing as a result of assessment outcomes and the institutional environmental factors that impact faculty engagement in SLO assessment.  The study fills a gap in the research on student learning outcomes assessment by focusing on how assessment is impacting math faculty teaching practice.  This is of particular significance because of the challenge that students have in meeting degree requirements in mathematics and success rates in math classes.  This study uses a pragmatic framework to explore faculty engagement by utilizing a mixed methods design that brings in multiple perspectives on the math faculty experience with assessment.  The study participants are math faculty from community colleges in the state of California.  
    The mixed methods design utilized math faculty interviews and a survey instrument designed to describe math faculty engagement in student learning outcomes assessment cycles throughout the California community college system.  The presentation will focus on five aspects of the study, the five topics that will be emphasized are as follows: faculty assessment practices, changes due to assessment, the influence of institutional context on assessment practices, institutional support, and the implementation of changes at different levels.  Opportunities for dialogue will be provided so that presentation participants can reflect on the study results in light of their own assessment experiences.  The opportunities for dialogue will be focused on the five areas of emphasis discussed previously.

4:00 pm     Michael Hoffman  "Math Jam!  Building Community and Improving
                                                    Math Placement at Cañada College" 

While many students from underrepresented groups enter the California Community College system with a high level of interest in STEM fields, the majority of them dropout or change majors even before taking transfer-level courses. To facilitate the transition of these students into transfer-level STEM courses, Can ̃ada College, a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution in the San Francisco Bay Area, developed an intensive math placement test review program called Math Jam. This free program involves students taking the placement test before and after one or two weeks of intense work on core math skills. Implementation of the program over the last four years shows success in improving stu- dent performance in the math placement test, and success in creating a sense of community among program participants. An analysis of student academic performance in subsequent semesters show significantly higher success and retention rates among Math Jam participants compared to nonparticipants. 
    Since the implementation of Math Jam, enrollments in STEM courses have increased significantly, with a higher rate of increase among minority students.  Data will be presented along with information related to developing and maintaining a program like this on other campuses. 

* PreCalculus and Up *          Room:  Cypress II & III

9 am          John Jacob   "Classroom Mathematics Experiments for PreCalculus Level Courses"
    The speaker will guide the participating(!) audience through these three mathematics experiments that use his specially designed “lab” equipment.(1) The gradient of a plane and its relation to the two slope numbers m1 and m2.(2) Tools that can be used with a topographic map to determine the location of possible obstructions to straight line visibility.(3) Mapping certain curves and regions in the plane onto the cone.

10:30 am   Martin Flashman   "Using Mapping Diagrams to Understand Functions"
    Mapping diagrams (dynagraphs) provide a valuable alternative to graphs for visualizing functions. Core function concepts can be more easily understood using these diagrams.  I will introduce the concepts and illustrate examples of composition and inverses for linear, quadratic, and trigonometric functions. Technological tools will make the presentation more dynamic.
    This presentation will condense and abbreviate a workshop on mapping diagrams given in summer of 2012 at the University of Utah.  I will provide worksheets for participants to experience the use of mapping diagrams in conjunction with tables and graphs that illustrate the function concepts of composition and inverse. Participants will be asked to suggest ways that the diagrams can assist students in understanding problem translation for applications.

2:30 pm     Charles S. Barnett   "Neither Div nor Curl nor Both Constitute the Derivative"
    In the usual calculus sequence we begin by defining the derivative of a real-valued function of a real variable via the limit of a difference quotient. Next come the techniques for finding the derivative of familiar functions without resort to the defining relation. As we work our way to the study of functions from n-space to m-space where 1≤n≤3 and 1≤m≤3, we encounter “partial derivatives,” “gradient,” “divergence,” and “curl.” But “derivative” standing alone seems to disappear, and it reappears, if at all, in analysis courses above, or to the side of, Advanced Calculus. That traditional approach has the advantage of quickly getting to methods that have applications in engineering and scientific disciplines, the source of most students who study the calculus sequence. But these derivative-like concepts, especially Divergence and Curl, seem to appear out of a vacuum, not as a continuation of the development of the derivative concept. An alternative approach is available.
    There exists a relatively smooth route from the definition of the derivative for the one-variable case to the definition of he derivative for the case in which both domain and range can have any (not necessarily equal) dimensions. The approach involves constructing the limit of the Frechet difference quotient, essentially a directional derivative. If this limit satisfies certain smoothness conditions, then a derivative emerges, and it is a linear map; the linearity is demonstrable directly from the defining relation.
    When both the domain and range of a function are real 3-space, then the derivative is a linear map from 3-space to 3-space, and the Divergence and Curl are aspects of that derivative, but neither one nor both constitute the derivative. Further properties of the derivative (the Chain Rule, for example) emerge, without the use of coordinates, along lines that parallel those used to derive comparable properties of the derivative for the one-variable case. We do return to coordinates when performing calculations.
    This approach to the multi-dimensional derivative illustrates the beauty and utility of generalization without having to resort to the heavy machinery of complete, normed linear spaces.  I hope to promote audience interaction by application of the results to some standard examples that appear in calculus textbooks.

* Technology *               Windjammer I & II

9:00 am          Eric Schulz   "Sticky PreCalculus"

    Do your students have difficulty understanding and remembering mathematical concepts from precalculus?  If so, it is time to use interactive visualizations.  When students experience an interactive figure, they become engaged in the mathematics and build an understanding of concepts that stick with them for years to come.  Well-crafted interactive visualizations break through the barriers imposed by static materials.  Ideas, interactive figures, and techniques designed for dynamic teaching and student explorations in precalculus will be shared in the presentation.  I'll provide online the interactive figures and supporting materials I use in the presentation for all participants to download and use.

10:30 am   Jeffrey Saikali   "Improving Learning by Understanding the
                                                Psychology of Human Memory"

   Cognition refers to mental processes that include perception, attention, knowledge, language, problem-solving, reasoning, and decision-making; but the component of cognition that dominates all of the aforementioned is memory. Common understandings in the general public about the workings of human memory may tend to be based on assumption rather than supported by science. This presentation will provide an examination of current research on memory and a closely related important topic, forgetting. We will look at what cognitive psychologists have discovered about these, how students can improve their capacities to remember and use what they have studied, how they can study more effectively, and how they can get more out of lectures so that they forget less. For example, one research study demonstrated that students who simply attended course lectures retained only 5% of what they saw/heard, whereas retention was much higher when additional methods were employed. A PDF of the presentation's contents plus advice (from this author and some highly successful students) to students on better course preparation, studying, and retention will be available electronically to all attendees.

2:30 pm     Riki Kucheck   "Top 10 Technology Resources for the Math Classroom"
    This session will explore a collection of math-related technology resources including interactive demos, clever videos, textbook websites, APPs, and online homework. You should be able to go back to campus and begin immediately incorporating these materials into your math courses.
    This session will be interactive by asking for participant input of resources they have used in the categories demonstrated.  Technology shown include, but are not limited to MAA, Wolfram Alpha Demonstrations, Khan Academy, YouTube Videos, Harvard Math Video Project, Education Portal, Tools for Enriching Calculus, Brain Den, Eyejot, CMS, and more.

* Statistics *                        Room:  Windjammer III & IV

9 am          James Sullivan   "Case Study:  Instructor-Created Intructional Materials"
    This presentation reveals one instructor's approach to developing instructor-created materials for an Elementary Statistics course, including text book, study guides, and video lessons, using widely available software.  The complete progression from initial design elements to the final production process will be highlighted. Using these instructor-created materials in an online course has resulted in an 88% success rate. Participants will learn what is involved in creating instructional materials should they choose to pursue this approach in their own courses.

10:30 am   Michael Sullivan III   "Simulation and Randomization Techniques in
                                                         Introductory Statistics"

    Description:  Statistical computing has made it possible to teach inferential topics typically relegated to higher level courses in an introductory course.  Simulation methods allow for students to develop conceptual understanding of complicated topics such as a P-value with relative ease.  Bootstrapping and randomization techniques use the power of the computer to construct confidence intervals or approximate P-values.  These methods provide a powerful and enlightening introduction to traditional inferential techniques.  This session will focus on both tactile and computer generated simulations to introduce resampling methods and randomization techniques.

2:30 pm     Monica Dabos   "What is R-squared, again?  The amount of variation on…. that…"
    The definition of R-squared is recited by many students in exams as a mantra that is not understood. When this lack of understanding is added to fixed rules like “Close to ‘1’ = Good model” and “Close to ‘0’= Bad model”, then students leave statistics classrooms with a set of tools that lack practical application and therefore cannot be utilized effectively in different scenarios. In this workshop we will start by developing conceptual understanding of the standard deviation, which in turn will help decode the mysteries of the R-squared definition and reveal its importance in decision-making.
This workshop will have hands-on activities that can be replicated with students in the classroom.

4 pm          Kevin Brewer   "What Do Hypothesis Tests Teach Us About the
                                              Truth of Hypotheses?  Answer:  Nothing"

    The goal of the presentation is to shed light upon the notion of statistical inference in the context of hypothesis tests by viewing such tests in their historical context.  According to Neyman-Pearson statistics, the theory of statistics which is (supposed to be) the theoretical basis for most current statistics textbooks, one does not ‘infer’ anything at all about the truth or falsity of a hypothesis at the conclusion of a hypothesis test.  Only when the work of Neyman and Pearson is set against the school of Bayesian statistics and also against the work of R. A. Fisher can we understand why and how they arrived at a view which will surely strike many as counterintuitive.  Accordingly, the paper proceeds by presenting brief overviews of Bayesianism, the work of Fisher and finally that of Neyman and Pearson.  With these in place we conclude by taking a fresh look at what most textbook writers say about hypothesis tests.  
    Motivation/Background:  the presentation really addresses the meaning of statistical inference, in the context of hypothesis tests.  I'm sure that you are aware that many community college stats instructors learned the material for the course the first time that they taught it (I was one of those 1995 in fact).  My background studying philosophy of science lead me into historical and foundational reading on the topics covered in intro stats texts.  I discovered a fascinating history of debates among the statisticians who put forth the various views about what statistical inference is and how it is justified.  The goal of the talk is to unsettle statistics teachers, and to hopefully excite their interest too.  I will provide a large 'further reading' list for participants.  
    I really do think that it is impossible to understand what is going on in hypothesis tests (and confidence intervals too, but that's another presentation) without knowing where they came from and what the designers of the various views were responding to and trying to accomplish.  I hope to fill in these gaps in the presentation.

Future CMC3 Conferneces

For conference information, contact
Mark Harbison at

For registration information, contact
Joe Conrad at Solano Community College at (707)864-7000 x4372

Joe Conrad
Mathematics Department
4000 Suisun Valley Road
Fairfield, CA 94534

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