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Frequently Asked Questions

How is this program normally implemented?

How much time out of an academic term should I plan to dedicate to this project?

  • This depends of a variety of factors, including class schedules, how the instructor balances work in class with work outside of class, student mentors' access to technology and comfort level with it.
  • The Online Mentoring Guide, a Blackboard Vista (formerly WebCT) training module, typically takes about two weeks, given normal class schedules, but can be compacted or stretched out longer, if your schedule allows.
  • Student mentors spend another two weeks replying to actual submitters to one of our Problems of the Week. They normally mentor about 6 student submissions each.

What are the faculty instructor's responsibilities?

  • During the OMG phase, instructors
    • set a schedule of assignment deadlines;
    • monitor and participate in discussions (either in class or online);
    • summarize student input to create a class-generated Solution Expectations document;
    • summarize student input to create a class Mentoring Profile document;
    • lead students through study of the problem they'll mentor and the Mentor Solutions and Scoring Grid.
  • During the live mentoring phase instructors are responsible for "approving" their student mentors' replies, which often involves requesting changes from the mentor before the reply is sent to the child. It can be somewhat labor intensive, so some instructors plan ways to adjust their work load during those two weeks. Teaching Assistants can be very helpful with the approval process, if any are available.

How are faculty instructors prepared to lead the OMP?

  • Before using the OMP for the first time, Faculty (Group Leaders) and their TAs participate in a section of the course simulating what their student mentors will be doing. That is about a four week process prior to using it in class. The Math Forum's OMP Manager leads the Group Leader course and will be the approver for your replies during the live mentoring phase.
  • Group Leader training should take place during an academic term prior to using it with your students, so that you can plan for effective implementation.
  • Following that you all will be in a good position to use the course with your own students and to approve their replies to submitters.

Do participants in the Group Leader section need to be available at specific times?

  • No. There will be a few intermediate deadlines, so that participants can send feedback and receive it from others in a timely fashion. You will also need to be ready to begin the live mentoring phase at the appropriate time, about 15 days after the start of the course. Otherwise, you can work at your own pace.

What does the program cost?

  • We ask participating universities to pay $300 per term to help cover out administrative expenses. In the first year we also ask them to “introduce” us to three K-12 schools that we might approach regarding our PoW subscriptions.

Can OMP participants work in partnership with local schools?

  • Absolutely! We welcome projects which take advantage of ongoing relationships with classes or schools or that establish new connections.

How do I become involved?

  • Email Max Ray, Professional Collaboration Facilitator. Describe your interest. He will get in touch with you.

Can individuals participate in the OMP?

  • The OMP is a group activity by design. It takes advantage of exchanges among participants and strives to develop colleagueship among them. It is sometimes possible to include one or two individuals within a group from another institution, if scheduling details can be worked out.
  • The Math Forum has another program through which individuals may be trained to mentor student submitters to our Problems of the Week. Email Claire for more information.

Other questions? Please Email Max Ray.

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