Math made easier, lab open for RCC business

By Jeffrey Whitehead

MATH TIME

By Jeffrey Whitehead

In the bottom of the Riverside Community College Digital Library is a pleasantly lit room with a math lab in it.

There are 36 computers fairly spaced, four each on nine tables, with their own comfortable office chair. This is where students who are enrolled in math courses come to complete their lab hours.

Datatel is a computer system that sends students’ log-in information to a central server where computers keep track of the Math, English and Computer lab hours.

The Math Lab computers have a program called Course Compass which directs students to assignments for most math courses. Assignments that are completed here are scored and turned in to a main server where the instructors can receive and use the information, said lab assistant Anthony Thompson.

He agreed that it was positively more convenient to complete and turn in math homework this way.

Calculus and physics work is done with a software program called Mathematica. It was created by a physics and math scholar named Stephen Wolfram.

All quizzes and exams for math courses are taken in the lab using Quizmaster. A student makes an appointment for when they will take the test.

The lab aide will supervise the test taking to make sure there is no cheating and to notify the lab assistant if there are any computer problems.

Anthony Montejano, a lab aide has caught people cheating. He gives them a zero for the test, and then it’s up to the instructor what to do with the student.

“Usually they just fail the test,” he said.

There is at least one tutor in the lab that can help students with anything they didn’t get from class.

“There used to be more tutors at times when the lab is full, but the school can’t afford to do that since education budgets have been reduced,” lab aide Judith Morgan said.

Most days, at around noon, students will find the lab over booked and students must wait for a turn at a computer. The lab is open Monday and Wednesday7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m, Fri. 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. So students have plenty of time to do their business with math.