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Category Archives: 2017 Spring

Impact of the 12-6 Calendar at CUNY; Graduation Rates; Advisement


  • Discussion of impact of 12-6 calendar on STEM learning.


  • Dan, Pat, Kristin, Azure, Tara, Raluca, Tian.

Points of Discussion:

  • Pat’s presentation at Hostos, who are being encouraged to adopt a 12-6 (union meeting with admin also present).
  • Questions about impact on student internships (May start) and length of time for propr learning (esp. of calculus).
  • Benefits: Financial (free module), “back up semester” if you fail a class.
  • Disadvantages: Support staff workload.
  • Is this a shift from a few years ago when LCC & KCC were feeling pressured to convert to a 15 week semester?
  • Guttman — Graduation rates higher with 12-6 calendar, so based on these data, there is now a push to convert all the CUNY CC’s to 12-6 calendar.
  • In reality, instead of accelerating graduations with the 12-6, Tara sees students spread 12 credits over the 12+6.
  • Considerations for students who are single parents or have jobs: 12-6 might be better for them.
  • What about online classes? Does 12-6 vs. 15 weeks matter for online learning?
  • Though CC students find online learning far more challenging.
  • Tara asked, is 6 weeks enough for a foundation or gateway course? (Depends on the course and on the student).
  • Socially, students are “told” they can work full-time and go to school full-time; this is not necessarily true (for many or most).
  • All KCC advisement is now decentralized, and also split into 1st year (Freshman services) and 2nd year (2nd is discipline-specific).

Future items:

  • Share a copy of Sara Kraemer’s evaluation report with the STEM FIG.
  • Next semester — 1st meeting focus on Pat’s notes for a STEM FIG report.



Automatic-Algebra.org; Conceptual Quizzes


  • Materials used in gateway math courses.

In-class materials used:

  • Dan’s online conceptual quizzes in MAT 900; hope is to well-prepare students well for later science and math courses.
  • General agreement that conceptual emphasis and not all-multiple-choice computational questions is helpful.
  • Automatic-algebra.org: Dan’s website for timed drills on basic prerequisite skills (negatives, order of operations, set of numbers, decimal comparisons and conversions, etc.)
  • Provides concrete site to refer needy students starting on day 1 od a course.
  • Suggested expansions/improvements for science courses: Matric conversions, serial dilutions.
  • Possibly tracking user data to provide evidence for improved results (would be total overhaul of existing site).
  • Possibly compare 2 sections of a course with/without site integration for evidence.

Supplemental Bio-Math Modules; Math Workshop; Qualitative Reasoning


  • Stats/Prob. modules developed for Bio 33/ab


  • Physical Sciences, Biology, Mathematics, Math Workshop
  • Anna/Emral also teaching a learning community with A&P and math (Bio 50/50).

Discussion of other efforts on campus to support math:

  • Bio learning communities (11 and 33)
  • Bio 13 boot camp (S3)
  • MAT M1/M2 4-day (16 hour) workshops for high-fail students to pass

Feedback on modules:

  • Send the worksheets/quizzes
  • Some technical revisions to these specific modules (suggested by math faculty)
  • Supporting QR vs. calculator skills (e.g.: estimation, rules of thumb such as divisibility by 3).

Center for Math & Technology (previously: Math Workshop)

  • Students can come for math help, including math support for other courses(walk-in help; can get schedule from center for specific tutors with specific expertise)
  • STEM instructors can supply info to CMT, who can assist as much as possible
  • Budget drastically cut

How to improve QR (Qualitative Reasoning)?

  • A long-term proposition, but how to best approach?
  • Relevant examples (like % body fat) — contextualizing an abstract concept
  • Repetition/more exposure
  • Practice examples in various concepts
  • Coordination across faculty (tutors for content course, workshop tutors, faculty, etc.)

Next meeting: Will send out a Doodle(but only for days at 1:50 PM) after spring break.